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Zimbabwe's voters' roll is a shameless shambles

It would be a joke, but too many people's lives depend on free elections.
Zimbabwe mugabe elections sadcc 2011 6 9Enlarge
Zimbabwe's political situation will be discussed at a summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In this picture, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attends the opening of a SADC summit in Windhoek, Namibia on May 20, 2011. (Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images)

The Mugabe regime is shameless.

President Robert Mugabe and his ruling cronies have been documented carrying out torture, murder and mayhem. Yet the police, army and CIO baldly deny the proof and carry on with their abuses.

Blatant vote rigging has been proved in Zimbabwe's courts, as far back as Margaret Dongo's case, but Mugabe just keeps holding fraudulent elections that are marked by violence, intimidation and ballot stuffing.

It is a well known fact that the roll of Zimbabwe's registered voters is riddled with dead voters, ghost voters, double entries and just about any kind of false entry that can be imagined. A partial audit in 2003 showed that 25 percent of the voters listed on the roll in one constituency were non-existent.

With a voters' roll so full of errors, vote rigging is easy. Especially for a regime that has its military control the voting and counting process.

The latest exposure was provided by the respected South African Institute for Race Relations which found that the voters' roll includes an impossible number of people over 100 years old. More than 40,000 centenarians, 16,800 of them born on Jan. 1, 1901. This in the country that has one of the world's lowest average life expectancies at 37 years.

So today Zimbabwe's registrar general, Tobaiwa Mudede, flatly denied the reports that the electoral register is flawed. Mudede said that no country “in the world” has a better voter registration system. Mudede, who has publicly stated that he is a supporter of Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, spoke to the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

Mudede's outrageous posturing would be comical, if people's lives weren't being destroyed by the Mugabe regime.

South African President Jacob Zuma is wise to the Mugabe's tricks. And Zuma called Mugabe on it at the March 31 at the summit of the security troika of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Livingstone, Zambia. Mugabe succeeded in getting SADC to go softly on him at the most recent SADC summit on Zimbabwe in Johannesburg last week.

Mugabe is preparing to hold elections this year. With the same voters' roll and the same crooks in charge.

The neighboring countries of southern Africa are going to find it harder and harder to ignore Mugabe's abuses to the democratic process. When are they going to stop endorsing Mugabe's blatantly fraudulent elections? When will neighboring leaders insist on internationally supervised elections? That is the way to restore Zimbabwe's democracy and put the country back on the path to prosperity and respect for basic rights.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/zimbabwes-voters-roll-shambles