Zimbabwe's 'ghost voters' haunting the MDC

By Peta Thornycroft

Harare - More than 60 percent of voters registered in one Harare constituency for Zimbabwe's crucial March 31 parliamentary elections are non-existent "ghosts", according to the sitting MP, Trudy Stevenson.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) suspects legions of ghost voters in all of the country's 120 constituencies will play perhaps the decisive role in the elections, because ghosts tend to vote for the ruling Zanu-PF.

Because election authorities refused Stevenson's opposition MDC access to the electronic version of the voters' roll, it tried in a few constituencies to verify the accuracy of the printed roll on foot, going from house to house.

Stevenson says 64 percent of people in one densely populated block in her constituency, Harare North, are not known at the addresses given on the voters' roll.

She is the only MDC candidate who was able to finish the laborious audit ahead of the deadline for objections to the voters' roll - a month before the poll.

David Coltart, the MDC's legal secretary and MP for Bulawayo South, missed the deadline because his team, also going from house to house, was repeatedly arrested.

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