Zimbabwean Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede attracted the wrath of the two Movement for Democratic Change formations sharing power with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party after claiming Wednesday the country’s widely-discredited voters’ roll was “perfect.”
Mudede said his office, responsible for civil registrations, had acquired top-notch machinery equipped to prevent double registration of voters.
The controversial registrar told state radio that his office was maintaining an up-to-date register with about 5, 8 million registered voters.
But critics who accuse Mudede of manipulating previous elections in favor of ZANU-PF were livid at his comments, saying the voter register was in shambles and far from perfect.
Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC wing led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai scolded Mudede, telling VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that his party will continue pushing for electoral reforms ahead of the next polls, among them the production of a clean voters’ roll.
“This is an incredible claim by a person who has lost all credibility,” he said. This is not a voter’s roll to rely on, we want a voter’ roll compiled by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which has been appointed with the agreement of all the principals of the Global Political Agreement.”
Mwonzora’s disapproval was echoed by Nhlanhla Dube, spokesman for the MDC formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube. “We can’t take his word for it. The voters’ roll went from hero to zero in his custody, and we can’t then just take his word to be gospel.”
Mudede’s claims fitted perfectly into President Mugabe’s political gambit of wanting elections this year even in the absence of a new constitution and other political reforms that promote democracy.
The 88-year-old leader insisted Thursday he was pressing ahead with his election plans, vowing the unity government had become unworkable and should be dissolved. Mr. Mugabe was addressing traditional chiefs in the second city of Bulawayo.
Landing a civil society voice on the contentious issue, director Tawanda Chimhini of the Election Resource Centre told VOA it was very difficult to accept believe Mudede’s statements following previous revelations proving the voter register was in a chaotic state, populated with deceased people and children too young to vote.