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Zimbabwe Voter Registration Fails to Take Off

Finance Minister Tendai Biti
The Zimbabwe’s government’s plan to expand the voter registration and verification exercise by making it ward-based has hit a snag amid confusion and lack of funds.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced last month that the exercise will begin January 3 and run through April.

Zimbabwe has slightly over 5.5 million registered voters, with the number expected to increase when mobile voter registration begins.

The ZEC and Justice Ministry officials say the whole exercise would cost US$21 million. But treasury says for now it can release only US$3 million, only enough for the initial launch.

ZEC sources told VOA that they need about US$8.5 million for buying new motor vehicles, US$3,8 million for hiring vehicles and an additional US$11.4 million for voter education and election-related materials.

ZEC deputy chairwoman Joyce Kazembe told VOA that the exercise is still on ice.
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Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the initial exercise will need a few more million dollars.
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In 2011, the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said the voters roll was in shambles. ZESN said anomalies in the roll opened the way for “double voting and other rigging intentions”.

In its research, the group found some 2,344 voters between the ages of 101 and 110 still on the voting rolls, despite the fact the average life expectancy in the country is just 44.

The report also found that more than 500 dead voters had all been given the same birth date - January 1, 1901.

ZESN director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, urged government to avail money to allow the ZEC to kick-start the voter registration exercise.
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