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2002 Zimbabwean Elections...

Simone wrote:

Subject: Our True Account of an UNFREE, UNFAIR Voting Experience

I introduce myself to you - Mrs Simone ******* - I am married to Rory *******.

I was born in Zimbabwe, my family are third generation Zimbabweans.

My husband was born in Malawi because his parents were working there at the time - his parents and their parents were born in Zimbabwe.

He returned to Zimbabwe with his parents when he was three months old. His parents registered him as a Zimbabwean citizen in 1975. He is in possession of a Certificate of Registration of a Minor to prove this. He is also in possession of a letter from the Registrar General of Citizenship dated 28th January 1991 to further confirm his citizenship. He has a Zimbabwean passport and ID.

We are registered to vote in Harare East Constituency, Ward 8.

On Saturday 9th March 2001 we joined the voting queue at Highlands School at 8am, throughout the day I kept on observing that there were youths distracting and infiltrating the queue. I also noted that there was no police presence at the gate. Around 3pm disgruntled queuing voters finally noticed what was going on and alerted observers. As I am sure you are all aware - Mudede visited the polling station whilst this was going on and tried to quell the crowd! The gate was then closed and a couple of policeman were stationed there. Around 6pm more police arrived. At 7pm the people that were in the queue were let through the gates and they were closed.

At 11pm I decided to give up - my husband decided to stay. Eventually at 1.30am he got to the station. However, his name appeared on a "black list" that they had - and because his name was on that list - he was denied the right to cast his vote. His name appeared on the voters roll - they actually acknowledged that fact - but he was told he was not allowed to vote despite the fact that his name was on the roll and despite the fact that he was in possession of his passport, ID, and all documents to prove his citizenship.

At that time in the morning there were NO independent observers/monitors around to assist him. The only people around were the Government elected monitors and agents and they refused to let him vote or to give him a reason as to why he was not allowed to vote! He tried to convince and plead with them - they sent in policemen to drag him out of the station.

Our friend had stayed on with my husband - they told him he was in the right constituency but wrong ward - they let him vote for the President only.

On Sunday morning I woke up and went to Harare East overlap station on Gunhill Road - when I got into the station - they told me I was not allowed to vote there because I was not on their roll - however - I was in possession of my passport and ID. Again NO independent observers/monitors around to assist me.

I then went to collect my husband from our friends house and we went home to rest. I had given up! We then learnt that they had extended voting to 7pm Monday - so we went to Danhiko School (Harare East Constituency). Again Rory was refused the right to vote because his name appeared on the "black list". He was told by the officer in charge to go to Oriel Boys Computer Command Centre. I gave them my ID - I was on the Constituency Roll but not the Ward Roll - they told me I could not vote there because it was the law to vote for all three and as I was not on the Ward Roll - I was therefore not allowed to vote. Again NO independent observers / monitors to help us.

I know that is not true - why was our friend allowed to vote at Highlands School when that was not his ward?

We then went to Oriel Boys - I went in and was eventually allowed to cast all three votes - however, my husband's name did not appear on their computer - they refused to acknowledge the fact that he had all his docs to prove his citizenship - again unable to exercise his right to vote. Again NO independent observers/monitors to help us.

Please note that I checked both the Danhiko and Oriel Constituency Rolls and my husband's name appeared on them!!!!! His name appeared on all three at Oriel. Therefore - his name appeared on three Rolls at three Polling Stations.

Tell me - in your opinion - was this free and fair??????

I write further to elaborate on discrepancies with regard to voting:

Miss J was registered in Harare East Constituency - she queued in Alex School Harare Central Constituency - they let her vote for all three there!

Mr C registered to vote in Harare East Constituency - name did not appear on Voters Roll - went to Computer Command Centre at Oriel Boys - was in possession of passport and ID - his name appeared on that computer list - they refused to give him a green slip of registration - they say he didn't register and therefore denied the right to vote. Again NO independent observers/monitors around to assist him.

Mrs N was on black list on Sunday in Alex School Harare Central Constituency - Monday the list was mysteriously removed and she was allowed to vote.

It would seem from the accounts of the above that the Polling Agents at each Station were making the law up as they deemed fit - in my opinion this was a complete disregard of the law and of our rights as citizens of Zimbabwe.

I wonder how many people in the high density suburbs of Harare had the same treatment - oh you are in the right CONSTITUENCY but in the wrong WARD - so therefore not allowed to vote here - tell me - who would have been there for to assist them?

Believe me - they as determined as they were to exercise their democratic right to vote - would have joined yet another long queue and let us hope and pray that they were not denied that right yet again.

Furthermore, as a last word - I would like to say that it is completely unfree and unfair that 800,000 or so HARARE residents had their polling stations cut by half AND that we were subjected to voting for President, Mayor and Councillor in just three days.

I, SIMONE *******, confirm that the above is a TRUE account of actual facts.

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