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Clean up voters’ register



In this edition, we publish a story revealing the shambolic state of the voters’ roll for the election next week.

The anomalies in the voters’ roll were unearthed by Shikamo Political Advisory and Campaign Services (Shikamo), a political campaign consultancy working for the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP).

Some might understandably be sceptical of Shikamo’s findings because it has a dog in this fight. The predictable refrain might be that Shikamo is doing the RFP’s bidding.

Yet that is not the point. A messy voters’ roll is not in anyone’s interest.

The integrity of a voters’ roll is a public interest matter that should concern political parties and citizens.

So instead of asking who is raising the issue, we should be looking at the credibility of the findings. What should gravely concern us is that someone is raising alarm about the voters’ roll which is the cornerstone of any election.

The focus should be on that which is alleged and not who is alleging it.

Those who doubt Shikamo’s analysis should produce evidence to the contrary.

Until then, the findings should be considered credible and therefore spook us as a nation. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), as the custodians of the roll, cannot afford to ignore or dismiss those revelations.

Rather, it should acknowledge the anomalies and work overtime to rectify them before the election.

You only have to understand the magnitude and implications of the alleged anomalies to appreciate why Shikamo’s findings are a big deal.

The firm’s analysis of only 20 percent of the voters’ roll reveals that the details of just under five percent of the registered voters either have fatal mistakes or have been duplicated.

It is important to remember that those anomalies have been discovered in a sample of only 20 percent of the voters’ roll.

If we apply the same formula and logic to the entire roll it means details of about 25 percent of all registered voters either have wrong details or have been duplicated.

Calculated based on the 1.2 million registered voters that 25 percent translates to a staggering 313 000 votes whose details have mistakes.

That is 53 percent of the 587 000 people who voted in the 2017 election.

It is 77 000 votes more than the 235 000 votes that propelled the ABC to victory in the previous election and double the votes won by second-placed DC.

The implication is that 313 000 might be denied their constitutional right to vote on October 7. There is also a possibility of double voting.

This could give birth to a flawed election result, triggering disputes that could potentially destabilise the country.

It is therefore imperative for the IEC to deal with these anomalies before the election.

This is not scaremongering.

The right to vote is sacrosanct. One person denied the right to vote is one too many.

It is not too late to fix the voters’ roll.

The clean-up should continue until the very last minute so that no Mosotho is disenfranchised.

We do not think there is any chicanery in this mess. This is purely an election management matter that however has serious implications if not sorted.

It is the IEC that created this mess and it is the IEC that should sort it out.

The commission owes it to itself and the nation to have a clean voters’ roll.


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