MDC alliance suffers major blow

Fractures: Supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance could be disappointed if their party doesn’t overcome its divisions and represent a united front before the elections (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)
Fractures: Supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance could be disappointed if their party doesn’t overcome its divisions and represent a united front before the elections (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

Harare – The MDC Alliance has suffered a major strategic blow after the European Union’s  Ambassador Philip Van Damme poured cold water on suspicions of possible ghost voters in the voters roll.

Van Damme’s comments came in light of the findings by Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN).

Posting on his Twitter handle Van Damme said: “The @ZESN1 audits do not focus on the flaws in the 2013 VR but on possible flows in the 2018 VR. Suspicions of “ghosts” (mainly based on 2013 comparisons !?) but no smoking gun so far. That’s why it is important to respond to @ZECzim offer to come & verify for presumed ghosts!?”

“Repeat the ~5000 doubles are an issue recognized by all, 5000 too much & indicating a problem in RG’s office, but still <0,01% of database, without clear pattern & “statistically not significant”?

“Again, this is not about the findings but their interpretation. Some findings shared by @ZESN1 reveal real issues but at small scale (combined <0,5% of VR?) & data entry quality problems without immediate impact, rest based on comparison 2013 VR requiring sample testing?

“I saw it. The question remains the same . Which data are correct, the 2018 or 2013 ones? Only way to answer is by sample testing as offered by @ZECzim + parallel ground test as done by @ZESN1 ?”

“You have 115,000 Moyo’s in the database, ie ~2% of total, & 63 registration districts. Statistically therefore very likely on the contrary that two persons with same middle ID number have a same (common) surname!?”

“The new data basis includes additional data fields (fingerprints & picture); copying therefore is not sufficient. Simple double test of existence of ghosts: sample of ghosts checked in database for existence & uniqueness (cf @ZECzim proposal) + additional field verification? “

ZESN carried its own audit and found that the 2018 voters roll is better than the 2013 one and that the problems do not hinder the holding of free and fair elections.

Following the tweets, Van Damme has become the subject of massive attacks from MDC Alliance sympathisers who now accuse him of siding with ZEC.