So much for our 90% literacy rate

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) risks not being taken seriously after its unsolicited response to shocking revelations on the number of assisted and turned away voters in the just-ended harmonised elections.

Southern Eye Editorial

ZEC, which came under a barrage of attacks for the shambolic manner it conduced the July 31 poll, revealed on Thursday that over 300 000 people were turned away from polling stations while as many as 206 000 were assisted to vote.

The number of assisted people amounts to 5,9% of the total number of the 3 480 047 people who cast their vote on July 31. To all intents and purposes, these are shocking figures which could have a bearing on the outcome of the polls.

It would appear assisted and turned away voters were largely from MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s perceived strongholds.

Masvingo, a stronghold of MDC-T in the 2008 polls, recorded the highest number of assisted voters with a staggering 34 950 allegedly seeking assistance from polling officers.

Harare of all places, a ground-swell of progressive support, registered the highest number of people turned away followed by other MDC-T strongholds, Manicaland, Midlands and Masvingo.

The ZEC figures of both assisted and turned away voters is quite huge and to some extent, legitimises the allegations that this election was mismanaged.

The turned away indicate a lack of voter education and more importantly, fiddling with the voters’ roll as many of those turned away had previously voted in their wards and/or constituencies without problems.

ZEC was therefore not ready and fell for the voters’ roll tricks of the Registrar-General’s Office.

Having such a high number of assisted voters again brings into question the freeness of this process.

Would a voter in Bindura or Mutoko vote for the MDC-T when they are being assisted to vote, we ask?

ZEC assumes the generality of the population is foolish. It has the temerity to insult citizens’ intelligence by attributing the high number of voters assisted to illiteracy, in desperate attempts to gloss over this fraud.

Suddenly, Zimbabwe has become a country of people that can’t read and write when Zanu PF politicians have had no qualms proclaiming that the nation has the highest literacy rate in Africa.

Please ZEC, spare us this rubbish. We demand answers to this shambolic and scandalous election. We smell a rat.

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