False claim that political parties can see who people voted for using serial numbers of ballot papers

Zanu PF MP candidate for Zvishavane-Ngezi, Mecky Jaravaza who lied and said political parties can use serial numbers of ballot papers to tell who voters voted for.
The Claim: Zanu PF MP candidate for Zvishavane-Ngezi, Mecky Jaravaza told supporters that the ruling party can see who voters voted for using the serial numbers of ballot papers on Election Day.
The Verdict: claim verdict

Zanu PF MP candidate for Zvishavane-Ngezi, Mecky Jaravaza, told supporters at a rally that the ruling party will know who voters voted for using the serial numbers of ballot papers.

He was captured in a two minute and twenty second video lying to Zanu PF supporters that political party agents will check the serial numbers of ballot papers to see which candidate people would have voted for on Election Day on August 23, 2023.

“Long ago, we wouldn’t know who you voted for but now we will know. When you are given the different ballot papers, one may be blue paper or any other color, and when you look at it, you will see that it has a number. That number will be used to record your name,” Jaravaza claimed, adding Zanu PF will know which candidate was voted for using the serial number of the ballot paper.

“So when you are voting and think you can vote for Chamisa and not Mnangagwa without anyone knowing, or that you have deceived us, we will know!”

Jaravaza added, “If your card is number 122 and think no one will know because there are many ballot papers. Do you know that during counting of the votes, they will empty the box and the ballot papers from the bottom will now be on top for the counting. Our party agents, who were trained as polling agents by trainers from Harare, will check each ballot paper written CCC and quietly note that serial number down.”

“The party agent who will be there ballot paper 82 or 78 voted for CCC. The agents will then check the name of the person who used that particular ballot paper. Go ahead and vote thinking you can trick us but we will find out.” 

Reached for comment, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Deputy Chairperson, Rodney Kiwa, told CITE that those claims were purely false.

“That is a lie, it’s unethical and is breaking electoral laws,” Kiwa said, emphasising that such claims were a criminal offense according to the Electoral Act.

Kiwa urged people to report the offending culprit to authorities.

“If people know who it is they should report that to ZEC and the police,” said the ZEC deputy chairperson. 

Kiwa said one of ZEC’s primary roles is to protect the voters’ choice and privacy.

Section 82 of the Electoral Act also states electoral officers, candidates and agents make a declaration of secrecy before voting starts.

“Every electoral officer, candidate or agent of a candidate authorised to attend at the counting or collating of votes at a polling station or constituency centre shall, before the opening of the poll, make a declaration of secrecy—

(a)   if he or she is a constituency elections officer or a presiding officer, before a commissioner of oaths;  or (b)   in any other case, before a commissioner of oaths or the constituency elections officer or the presiding officer,” states the Electoral Act.

Section 83 (2) states that any chief election agent, election agent or observer who contravenes any provision of the code of conduct set out in the First Schedule shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding level fourteen or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

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