‘More women at political rallies than on voters’ roll’

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has expressed concern over the lower number of women voters compared to their high turnout at party political campaign rallies.

Speaking at a human rights workshop organised by National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) on Friday, Bulawayo-based Zesn official, Ndodana Ndlovu, said statistics revealed that fewer women appeared on the voters’ roll compared to their male counterparts.

“There are more women at campaign rallies than there are on the voters’ roll. Fity-two percent of people on the voters’ roll are males compared to 48% who are female,” he said.

In Zimbabwe, women constitute 52% of the 16-million-strong population.

Ndlovu said the stringent voting requirements discouraged several people from registering on the voters’ roll.

“There are only two stations in Bulawayo that conduct identity documentations, that is to say Msitheli and Pumula, and these areas only produce 35 identity cards per day.

“Voting comes with conditions, yet it should be everyone’s right. Therefore, there is need for people to defend their rights when they are being abused,” he said.

In his presentation, Ndlovu said 95% of people on the voters’ roll had been encouraged to register by civic education programmes conducted by civic society groups.

“Voter education drives are necessary to enable citizens to know procedures for registration, transfers, objections, making claims and deletion of dead voters from the roll,” he said.

He said 98% of respondents had national identity cards and the other 2% failed to register because they were not in possession of a national identity card.

Ndlovu said the voters’ roll is “not always accurate, complete and current” and urged citizens to ensure information on the roll was correct.

“Registration of voters ought to be conducted on a continuous basis to ensure that the voters’ roll is up to date,” he said.

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