SEVENTY-EIGHT per cent of people who have died in Zimbabwe since 1980 are registered to vote and are expected to give phantom votes to Robert Mugabe in tomorrow's national poll.Hey, it worked for LBJ in his first Senate race, but his cemetary voters were limited to Box 13 in Pecos County. Mugabe is setting new standards in the "count every vote" racket. Democrats from Milwaukee to Seattle will probably be taking notes.
Supporters of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change say up to a million phantom voters may appear on the register and that "ghost voters" will be used by the ruling Zanu PF party to inflate the votes that it receives in this week's parliamentary elections.
For instance, Tichaona Chiminya, a driver for an opposition leader, was burnt alive in a truck. David Stevens, a white farmer, was shot in the back of the head. They were among the first to die as President Mugabe's reign of terror unrolled five years ago, but their names are still on the voters' roll. Added to a campaign to deny food to opponents of President Mugabe and door-to-door intimidation of rural voters, the opposition fears that it may lose the election, even if it has the support of the majority of voters.
Last week Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar-general who has run all of Mr Mugabe's electoral victories since 1985, announced there were 5.7 million voters on the roll.
House-to-house checks revealed that almost half of the voters in the sample had never been heard of at their addresses listed on the roll and the duplication of names was common.