Slow start to voter’s registration

Slow start to voter’s registration

October 19 2017 – AS the first phase of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) reaches midway, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has so far registered only 675 762 voters, which is 9,7 percent of the targeted 7 million voters. 

The first phase began on October 10 and will run until October 26. 

Latest ZEC statistics show that as at October 17, Mashonaland East had registered the most voters at 111 881, followed by Manicaland 109 607, Midlands 92 183 and Masvingo 84 642. In the period, ZEC officials in Mashonaland Central had captured 82 493, Harare 80 192, Mashonaland West 44 341, Matabeleland South 25 841, Matabeleland North 25 791 and Bulawayo 18 216.

Incidentally, Harare — which has a relatively low figure of voters that have been processed so far and is ranked sixth out of the 10 provinces in terms of current registrations — has the highest number of people expected to register at 1,3 million. A total 15 973 people were turned away during the September 18 to October 9 period. Aspiring voters are being turned away for defaced national identification particulars, no IDs and failure to produce proof of residence, among other reasons.

In Masvingo, for example, some Tokwe Mukosi prospective registrants had no IDs, while others did not have proof of residence. In Manicaland, people were being turned away either for being aliens or not having their IDs. In Mashonaland Central Province, a large number was turned away for being non-citizens. ZEC, however, noted that there were communication hitches in getting updates from some “remote and inaccessible centres”, which, to some extent, could have affected the tallying of the overall figures.

According to MDC-T secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora, ZEC’s insistence on proof of residence and a commissioned affidavit was a major put-off for prospective registrants.

“There are very few commissioners of oath, who are also charging between 50c and $1 to commission an affidavit, while in rural areas the village heads are charging between 25c and $1. We know that our people do not have this money and will obviously opt to ignore the whole process, resulting in very few people successfully registering. – Herald