REGISTRAR-GENERAL (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede yesterday said his department did not have enough money to be able to abide by the new Constitution stipulating that voter registration takes place for at least 30 days per ward.
Mudede said instead, the voter registration exercise, which began countrywide yesterday, would take place for only three days per ward.
The RG disclosed this yesterday when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs chaired by Glen View South MP Paul Madzore, after being quizzed by the committee to state whether or not he would be able to deploy enough staff for the 30-day voter registration period. According to the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, voter registration should take place for 30 days in each of the 1 958 wards.
“Yes, we cannot afford 30-day voter registration per ward because we do not have the money,” Mudede said. “We were supposed to do registration per ward, but if we do not have sufficient money we will be unable to do so.
“The method that we are following this time is that all districts will be visited by four teams, which means they should be able to cover all wards in a particular district.”
He added a cluster strategy would be used in urban areas where after completing voter registration in one ward, the registration team would move to another cluster.
Mudede, who was accompanied by Home Affairs secretary Melusi Matshiya, said the RG’s Office had budgeted $13 million for the exercise, but were given $4 million during the first voter registration exercise and another $4,4 million for the current exercise, resulting in a deficit of $5 million.
“We expected that money would be coming from Treasury, but we still have a balance of $5 million. Ward-based voter registration became impossible because of money. If we had the money, we would have started six months ago. We categorised and said if we did constituency-based registration, it would need $94,5 million, district-based registration would need $33,1 million and ward-based registration $104 million. So far we have 5,8 million people registered,” he said.
Last Wednesday, Finance minister Tendai Biti told the House of Assembly that Treasury had disbursed $20 million to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the voter registration exercise. The RG denied allegations there were some people, including ministers, who suddenly found their names off the voters’ roll.
“All the reports that names were removed proved to be false. I will not give you the information because it is confidential. A person is only removed from the voters’ roll through death or through court processes by a magistrate,” he said.
Mudede said some of the challenges his department was facing included shortage of equipment like cameras, vehicles and generators.