The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been blasted for reportedly giving voters’ mobile numbers to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is now using the numbers to solicit for votes using short message service (SMS).

Electoral watchdogs have questioned how ZANU PF got the phone numbers of registered voters after the ruling party started broadcasting its leader President Mnangagwa’s campaign messages ahead of the 2023 polls.

The unsolicited text messages being sent specifically state the constituency one would cast their votes at.

One such message, reads:

“Kwaziwai. Iyi ndiyo WhatsApp nhamba yangu yeEpworth North 0719115797, ichengetedzei mufoni menyu nekuzivisa vamwe vagari vemuEpworth North.

“Ndichange ndichikuzivisai paWhatsApp STATUS yangu, zvirikuitwa nehurumende kuvaka nyika yedu nemuno muEpworth North. Ndatenda, ndini wenyu President ED Mnangagwa.”

If translated to English, the message reads: “Greetings. This is my WhatsApp number for Epworth North.

“Keep it in your mobile phone and inform other Hatfield residents. I will be keeping you updated through my WhatsApp status, what the government is doing to build our nation in Epworth North. Thank you. Yours, President ED Mnagagwa.”

Meanwhile, it is not the first time ZEC has been accused of allegedly leaking voters’ mobile phone numbers to ZANU PF, giving the ruling party an unfair advantage over the opposition.

In the run-up to the 2018 harmonised elections, ZEC was accused of leaking the electorate’s phone numbers to the ruling ZANU PF party, which were used to send campaign messages to the electorate.

ZEC deputy chairperson Rodney Simukai Kiwa denied claims that the electoral body had availed a voters roll with phone numbers of voters to ZANU PF.

“That’s not true. We are not aware,” Kiwa said.

As reported, no comment could be obtained from ZANU PF as those authorised to talk to the media were not reachable.

However, electoral watchdogs demanded answers from ZEC and wanted the electoral management body to explain how ZANU PF got voters’ mobile phone numbers.