ZEC: Harare, Bulawayo voter numbers plunge

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IN a development that could signal trouble for the opposition, the number of voters in its traditional strongholds of Harare and Bulawayo looks lower than expected if census figures are considered, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has said.

In an update of the elections roadmap and the biometric voter registration (BVR) process, Zec said while Harare has had the highest number of people who registered, the figures remain below expectations.

“Highest proportion of registered voters recorded in Harare at 14.4% of the total followed by Midlands at 13.8%. Lowest proportion of registered voters recorded in Bulawayo with 4.1% of the total followed by Matabeleland South with 4.8%,” Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said is the statement read on her behalf by Commissioner Joyce Kazembe.

Chigumba said this far at least 5.1 million people registered as voters with the process set to continue until 12 days after the sitting of the Nomination Court.

The last census was conducted in 2012, and Zec said Harare and Bulawayo could have had bigger numbers. Matabeleland North and South also have relatively low figures while the Midlands said was second after the capital.

“When compared to the proportion of eligible voters based on the 2012 Census projections, the proportion of registered voters is in line with the census figures except for Harare and Bulawayo where the proportion of registered voters is below the proportion of eligible voters,” the Zec boss said.

Since the turn of the century, the opposition has literally swept the board in urban areas but came unstuck in rural areas where Zanu PF has maintained a vice-like grip.

Official figures show that some 70% of Zimbabweans live in the rural areas giving the ruling party the edge given its links with traditional leaders.