The voter registration nightmare — A personal account

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.

23 Responses to The voter registration nightmare — A personal account

  1. Edgarz July 11, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    You were very lucky. Me i returned with my four nieces in Sunningdale without success.
    Meanwhile those who registered can still check the correctness of their details on
    Its very useful. So far its the in thing up and until Mudede offers an alternative website.

    • mariyangu July 11, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      I drove to Murehwa and got served in a minute

    • Mr teams July 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

      Which Sunningdale are you talking my friend. You must have come late to fail to register otherwise It took me less than 1hr to register my 2 daughters at Sunningdale Hall. This was regardless of the long but fast moving line. Thank you Zec for awarding us the opportunity. We arrived at 3pm but were all through by 4.

  2. Mzilikazi July 11, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    Rigging part one accompished

  3. Mzilikazi July 11, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    Rigging part one accomplished?

  4. magame July 11, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    The MOTHER of all rigging will be on voting day with few ballot papers and ques moving at a snail pace in towns. Everything will be blamed on lack of money. Makarau is frrom the same place as the concourt judges and will do zanu pf’s bidding. We can only be saveed by a grand coalition and Ncube and Tsvangirayi should step up to the plate for future generations sake. If we fail now we are doomed to a long future under repression what with Mnangagwa taking ober soon after the elections.

  5. VOTER July 11, 2013 at 7:26 am #


  6. true zimbo July 11, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Only God can deliver us

  7. jiggyz July 11, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    mariyangu,if i don’t have anything to drive?how much fuel did you wasted?anyway you sound like a zanuoid pufu.

  8. takudzwa July 11, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    you are an uneducated fool. Voter registration is not an event. It is an ongoing process. It was obvious were going to be held this year. As a citizen you should have registered long before the deadline. Why do people always want to do things at the last momemt. Do you need someone to tell to go and register to vote. Those who failed to register to vote this year should not forget about it only to rush when there are few days left in the next election. There will be congestion

  9. dongelo July 11, 2013 at 8:58 am #

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  10. N.G Mdlalose July 11, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    When people were advised to register early and avoid the disappointing queues on the last days, some heeded while some didn’t. Its very painful an experience for those who did not register. I sympathise with u because your democratic right as a voter has been undemocratically blown away. The other thing the opposition parties should do away with next time is calling each other names such as ”village politician,” ”who is Dabengwa?” and etc because u will need those people tomorrow. U think that after such insults that have been made public choruses, it will be easy for them to trust and join u? U can’t join someone who wants to play master over u and he plays u his slave. No. During the course of these past five years, Tsvangirai spent credible time insulting other leaders from opposition ranks who are ranked equal with him in terms of fighting for our democracy. He failed to calculate. Worse still, he continues to lie about the grand coalition. July 31 2013 will bring a lot of tears from various quarters of life, from politician to povo. Tears of discomfort will be shed after 31 July.

  11. God Is Love July 11, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve! Characteristic of Zimbabweans. Now people are blaming ZEC when in actual fact they should shoulder the blame themselves for failing to register on time. This exercise has been ongoing, it’s not an event. I would understand someone complaining that inspite of having registered their names do not appear in the voters roll.Then to all true Christians, remember to love your enermies. We have our Lord Jesus Christ who loved those who were hated, tax collectors for example; we have Stephen who asked God to forgive those who were stoning him to death and David exetended a gesture of love to Saul’s relatives! Extraordinary to say the least. You must be distinct, special or separated vessels that are used by God on special occasions. You are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.I sometimes wonder if some of these people contributing comments and some journalists writing certain articles saturated with hate language in certain newspapers have ever been to church or heard about God because God is Love. Come on Zimbabweans, let’s promote Love. You should be discussing issues, your party policies! It’s sad when people call each other names because they support different parties and the majority of the people throwing invective at others will be preaching or singing in church come Sunday or Saturday! Watch the space, after this comment people will be calling me names. May the Almighty God forgive this generation!!!!!!The President has been calling for peace and tolerance.

  12. wamaromo July 11, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    10:30 you were lucky I left Haig park at 12:50 having spend 40 minutes sitting on a bench with someone drawing my name. He took 40 minutes on my paper alone.

  13. AZ July 11, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Even if the deadline is extended to 30 July some people will never make it. To those who didn’t register ,there is a next time and this time learn to manage your time well.

  14. daf July 11, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    How can someone expect to be served by 8am yet ZEC officials start work at that tym.

  15. wagara wadonono July 11, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    spot on AZ some people are always want to do things at the last moment. the problem is that usually they sympathised with. nobody should cry foul, we all head enough time.

  16. Mhandamabwe July 11, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    guys there is one word called endurance. i believe those who really want vote on 31 July were all registred. the process was painful yes, we all spend more than 5 hrs in long queues but we still manage to register. voter registration is a public process and you should not expect any good customer care. equate the process to queing for a passport where you go to makombe a early as 3am to be served at around 2pm. that is what it is and we all encouraged to endure until we gate what we want. we should all play our party and God will do the rest. democracy doen not come on a silver platter but is bases slely on hard work and endurance by those who want it.
    those who fail to register to vote its a pity because we all need your votes irregardless of whom you were going to vote for because it makes the whole procss more democatic if every citizen execises his/her right. i encourage you not to give up, go today where there are no queues at all and register for the next election not to wait again for the mobile registration in 5yrs time. if ypo want to something you should start planning for it in advance.

  17. gogo July 11, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    31 july will be Zanu’s waterloo together with their appendages who are trying to confuse the electorate we know they are all recieving diamond money but their project will fail dismally as Save will be inauguaranted to his God given post as president on 2 August 2013.

  18. Fox July 11, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    People should learn to be objective,the queues were not long because it was the last day.It took me 3 days to register at Kuwadzana,I went the 1st day after work around 5pm and they served about 10 people from 5pm up to6.30pm,the police manning that place came to disperse us and most left,but for me and my friends we decided to remain in the queue when the policeman came to us again I told him I needed a guarantee that I will be served the next day,he then gave us numbers assuring us that we will be served first on day 2,when I went on day 2 he the same policeman said he did not know me and had never written numbers on our utility bill.Day 3 I joined the queue at 6am.I only got to be served at at around 9am.Remember last year when people tried to register at the Central Registry they were turned away and almost arrested so please dont behave as if you have selective memories,it stinks!

  19. TB Joshua July 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Mugabe will lose this election and Tsvangirai will be next Head of State and Gorvenment,Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,Chairman of COMESA,Chancellor of all State Universities,Chairman of SADC Troika on politics and defence and Patron of ZCTU,Zimbabwe Cricket and the Mighty Warriors

  20. westwood July 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    in kambuzuma section 2 it ws jus quick i woke up early on a sunday nd was #218. Evrything was jus perfect, thumbs up t those guys, it took me less than an hr t get registered, esspecially wld lyk t thank #Alerta Mashonganyika, she rily dd grt to me. I wsh sme agents wer lyk her nd th officers

  21. yimi kanye July 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Vele yikuvoter bani lokhu thina sakubona okuka Tshaka owacina ese sendlalela unina ngabantu hayi bo………

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