JULY 9 2013 was the last of the 30-day intensive mobile voter registration exercise and I was among the thousands of unregistered aspiring voters who thronged the voter registration centres around the country in an attempt to beat the deadline.
Report by Feluna Nleya
Having failed to register on time owing to various reasons, including the huge turnout at most registration centres in my Harare Central constituency, I decided to do a last-minute attempt to have my name included on the voters roll for me to exercise my constitutional right to vote on July 31.
I chose the mobile voter registration centre at Rugare Primary School.
I had witnessed, written and also read several articles about the frustrating delays and the long hours that many would-be voters had to endure while trying to acquire identity documents, getting registered as first time voters and even, for those already registered, checking if their names were on the voters roll.
In my efforts to beat the deadline and the anticipated long queues, especially considering this was the last day, I dispatched my nephew to Rugare as early as 5am to secure places in the queue for myself and my husband who wanted to check if his name still appeared on the roll.
By 5.30am my nephew was already in the queue and was on position 266. When we finally joined him at 7.45am, the queue was nearly half a kilometre long.
We were then divided into three queues — one for first-time registrations and those seeking transfer of voting area,
the other for inspection of the roll, while the third was for those seeking identification documents.
Little did we know the wait was going to be a long day. While the inspection queue moved fairly fast, the registration and ID acquisition queues were the longest and moved at a helter-skelter pace, requiring a lot of patience.
Considering that the deadline fell on Tuesday, a working day, many prospective voters left without registering as it became apparent there was no chance of getting served before 8am.
I, however, persevered and finally got registered as a voter at exactly 10.30am — a historic moment for me. At last I was going to be able to vote. I had endured a lot of stress, given that I am an expectant mother, but nonetheless it was worthwhile and it indeed gave me a lot of satisfaction.
I did not have any choices because there were no arrangement made to accommodate people in my condition.
I pity the thousands other potential voters who failed to beat the deadline as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said the registration period for the July 31 elections would not be extended.