Voter registration nightmare blights poll

Cristina Lunga, a woman of Mozambican origin previously labelled an “alien”, waits patiently in a slow-moving queue at Kondo Primary School mobile voter registration centre in Chipinge.

REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA

Villagers wait to register as voters at Nyachuru Secondary School in Mazowe
Villagers wait to register as voters at Nyachuru Secondary School in Mazowe

Picture compilation by Tinotenda Samukange

It is taking about 30 minutes to serve one person, and for the so-called aliens, the wait is even longer as there are a lot of questions being asked to prove that the applicant is not a refugee.

Observations by legislators from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs and their sponsors the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust, as well as journalists during countrywide visits to voter registration centres were that staff from the Registrar-General’s Office preferred to talk about refugees and not aliens, while no figures were disclosed of aliens who had their citizenship regularised.

This was despite that the figures of other new voter registrants were easily made available.

“I have been queuing since yesterday hoping that by the end of the mobile voter registration exercise tomorrow my status would have changed to a Zimbabwean citizen,” Lunga said.

“I was born 37 years ago of Mozambican parents and all along I have been considered an alien and could not take part in voting during elections.”

Long queues were observed at the voter registration centres and in some cases, aspiring candidates took advantage of the crowd to buy food for the “hungry people” or to give money handouts as little as one dollar.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officers could be seen at registration centres and they told the committee that they were conducting their voter education activities.

Chairperson of the committee and Glen View South MP Paul Madzore said although there was an improvement in figures of people registered as new voters, there was still grave concern that a large number of new voters would be disenfranchised.

Chairperson of the Defence and Home Affairs Committee Paul Madzore (right) and Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami (centre) mingling with the crowd outside a voter registration centre in Pumula suburb, Bulawayo
Chairperson of the Defence and Home Affairs Committee Paul Madzore (right) and Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami (centre) mingling with the crowd outside a voter registration centre in Pumula suburb, Bulawayo

“The truth is we are going to see a very big number of people unable to register — not because they do not qualify, but due to the two to four days allocated for voter registration and the clustering system. There was an oversight on the issue of aliens in that there were supposed to be adverts detailing which documents they should bring and when registration would take place. We see aliens trickling in in small numbers and as if it was not enough, there is so much emphasis on refugees while people called aliens who have stayed, invested and worked in Zimbabwe for many years are finding it difficult to regularise their citizenship,” Madzore said.

Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami felt the clustering system that was being used to register voters was itself tantamount to rigging.

“Clustering of urban wards is a rigging system on its own. People will have to travel long distances to get registered paying as much as $15 transport costs, and it means a lot of people in urban and rural wards will not be registered by the end of the voter registration exercise,” Mutseyami said.

Chipinge West MP Sibonile Nyamudeza bemoaned the lengthy period taken to get people’s fingerprints sent to Harare for checking.

“It takes three months to get fingerprints from Chipinge processed in Harare. In other towns it takes a week and these delays will be costly for many aspiring voters,” Nyamudeza said.

A low voter registration turnout was observed in Bulawayo, with Silobela legislator Anadi Sululu blaming it on poor publicity.

Figures given out by Bulawayo Provincial Registrar Jane Peters were that by Wednesday last week about 6 000 people were recorded as new voter registrants, with more than 5 000 having inspected the roll.

“The publicity about voter registration has been very poor and many people in Bulawayo are saying they did not know where to go to register. Although the different provinces we have visited are saying they will register everyone, I do not think the staff at the
Registrar-General’s office will be able to do so, especially with the challenges of generators and cameras at some rural wards,” Sululu said.

While Zanu PF legislators, Fungai Chaderopa (Sanyati) and Mazowe North MP Cairo Mhandu felt everything was on board
and people were registering in large numbers, Mbare MP Piniel Denga said he had observed some of the staff from the RG’s office was not properly trained for the exercise.

People go through the voter registration process in Pumula Suburb, Bulawayo
People go through the voter registration process in Pumula Suburb, Bulawayo

“They have challenges in that they cannot even identify whether a person is an alien or refugee. There also seems to be a go-slow on the part of the staff doing registrations because they are taking long to serve only one person,” Denga said.

Figures released by different provinces by last week were that 19 883 new voter registrations were recorded in Manicaland Province, 18 060 in Mashonaland Central Province, more than 18 000 new voter registrants in Masvingo Province, but Matabeleland South Provincial Registrar Jabulani Mbambo refused to give any statistics, saying Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede had given an instruction that the figures should not be releasedto MPs.

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16 Comments

  1. Interesting news; ZANU PF has deployed Police as their Poling agents & presiding officers in their Primary elections 2day. All of the officers slept at those polling stns vachirohwa nechando.

  2. what a shame

  3. Don’t waste your time talking politics while others are enjoying their lives with money without talking politics. See how this Zimbabwean poor woman became a millionaire just by buying and selling damaged cars. Very interesting idea. Go to (ACCIDENTEDCARS.COM) to see the methods and companies she was using to do that. (ACCIDENTEDCARS.COM) a very simple idea but a very powerful one, Wake up Africans

    1. Pfutseki iwe….ndiyo comment yako mazuva ese iyoyo, iwewe wadii kutengesa mota dzacho instead of wasting your time uchinyora what others are doing coz urikutoratidza kuti hauna chero cent muhomwe….Duzvi remunhu

      1. Do not mind him. It is a self generating advert. Aggressive advertising!!!

  4. So true, tried to register on Fri and yesterday Monday in Chitungwiza but couldnt. They were just 3 officers serving people of upto 400. And they closed around 2.30pm, chasing away crowds of upto 300 people. Something should really be done, u cannot deny people their right, its not a privildge….

  5. Why not vote using our national I.Ds as we did at the referendum and 1980 elections? Zec should abandon the registration exercise and let people vote using their I.Ds. My proof of residence should be my I.D which confirms that i am a Zimbabwean, period. Why is it that the government is inconsistent regarding requirements for one to be able to vote? We sometimes use I.Ds only and sometimes we are ,required to produce proofs of residence. What does our constitution say? What will happen to those who fail to meet the deadline to register considering that when they have their I.Ds and are citizens of this country, they have the right to vote? Please act on this issue immediately!!

  6. this tym ticha svitsana pa tambo chaipo

  7. Let everyone exercise their constitutional right by allowing and giving ample time to this registration exercise. Everyone should be eligible to vote whether alien or no alien as long as you are a citizen of this nation.

  8. can the leaders do something about the pple who want to register and vote. zec is not doing enough to make sure everyone who intents to vote is registered, again the number of centres are not enough pple spend the who whole day waiting to be registered. to those who are not patient enough are leaving. pls do something you leaders. the pple want to vote for you but you are but u are not doing enough to make sure its easier for pple to do so.

  9. Please my fellow Zimbabwean. Don’t waste your time talking politics while others are enjoying their lives with money without talking politics. See how this Zim poor woman became a millionaire just by buying and selling accidented cars. Very interesting idea. Go to (ACCIDENTEDCARS.COM) to see the methods and companies she was using to do that. (ACCIDENTEDCARS.COM), a very simple idea but a very powerful one, Wake up Africans

  10. The problem now seems everyone has a stake in domestic politics which is different with other countries, where politics is for politicians its high time zimbabweans grow from these cheap politics of regime change it will bring nothing except exploitation of our resources

  11. Get away! which regime is being changed here, as far as I know the outgoing regime was a coalition,use your brains brother Mabweadziva, its every Zimbabwean’s right to participate in the politics of our country,avhunduka chati kwatara pane chaanoty’a!

  12. mabweadziva you are one of those people enjoying life under this difficult condition.why don’t you want us to change for a better standard of life?

  13. Zanu-Pf talks of liberating the country to deny people to vote,its absurd.

  14. this is ZANUPF s way of rigging polls.why deny people their human right to vote?this is done only in urban areas where they know they have never won and they will never win.this is thuggery on the part of the Registra General in league with his ZANUPF masters.the people get beaten up when they complain of this.the opposition leaders cant complain because they are now part of ZANUPF.
    dISGUSTING.

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