Connect to share and comment

Analysis: Why Mugabe wants to rush to the polls

Aging leader has the system rigged, but leaders of neighboring countries may push him to make substantial reforms.

The shocking state of the voters' roll has already been exposed: About one-third of the people on the register are dead, according to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

Political analyst R.W. Johnson, a former Oxford professor, studied the roll of registered voters and highlighted some glaring anomalies. In one constituency there are 118 voters over the age of 100, the majority of them all born on the same day, Jan. 1, 1901. When one looks at the new register as a whole, there are no less than 16,828 voters all born on the same day, Jan. 1, 1901.

“Such a concentration of 110-year-olds,” Johnson observes, “with identical birthdays is no doubt a planetary record.”

“Even more remarkable though, no less than 1,101 of these are concentrated in Mugabe’s birthplace, Zvimba, which no doubt will help to guarantee a pleasing election result there.”

All told, Johnson said, the register includes 41,110 voters aged over 100. On the other end of the scale, there are also registered voters who are two and three years old.

Mugabe has not yet set the date for the polls, but he is evidently in a hurry to move ahead with an election before any more anomalies in the electoral system are brought to light.

The summit of SADC leaders in Johannesburg on Saturday will show if South Africa and Zimbabwe's other neighbors will countenance elections on Mugabe's terms or if they will insist on improved conditions.