Zimbabwe Opposition Party Says It Can't Obtain Voters' Roll

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s main opposition party hasn’t been able to obtain a copy of the voters’ roll despite repeated requests over the past two weeks, an official of the Movement for Democratic Change said.

Access to the voters’ roll is one of the opposition’s 10 conditions for a fair vote in the July 30 elections. While President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling party is allowing monitoring by international observers, it hasn’t acceded to the other requests such as legislative changes on press freedom and a commitment by the military to respect the outcome. The U.K. Embassy and a local election monitoring group said they obtained a copy of the voters’ roll from electoral commission’s office.

“I’m apoplectic. How come the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has handed a copy to the British embassy, but not to the main political party contesting the election, when we’re the one entitled to it?’’ Senator David Coltart said by phone. “We have 210 constituencies to check and we’ve not even been able to begin.”

The elections body said last week it has registered 5.6 million voters for the first ballot since Robert Mugabe was forced to step down as president in November.

The Electoral Resource Centre, a local non-governmental organization that carries out voter education and election monitoring, said that it obtained a copy of the roll. Fadzai Mahere, an independent candidate for the Mount Pleasant constituency in Harare, the capital, said by phone that she also did but had to “hustle” to get it.

“The voters’ roll is available for anyone who wants it, and the MDC Alliance should visit our offices like all other stakeholders to get their roll,” Qhubani Moyo, a commissioner at the election commission, said Tuesday by phone. “They shouldn’t expect us to deliver it to their headquarters.”

Jameson Timba, the chief election agent of the MDC and its coalition partners, said he made a new request on behalf of MDC presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa at the commission office Tuesday morning.

“To my utter shock, I was asked to fill in a form and come back in 48 hours, yet surprisingly it was given to a foreign government whose nationals are not on the voters’ roll and don’t vote in our elections,” he said.

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