ABOUT 50 “aliens” yesterday demonstrated outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) offices in Harare, demanding to be allowed to participate in the forthcoming harmonised elections after they failed to regularise their citizenship and register as voters in the just-ended voter registration exercise.
The demonstrators accused Zec of making cumbersome demands for change of citizenship.
Coordinator of the group, Kimberly Nyatsanga, left a petition at the Zec gate and the Registrar-General’s Office after they found the gates closed.
“We are a group of people whose names appear in the voters’ roll, but we were told we have no rights to vote because we did not renounce our citizenship,” said Nyatsanga.
“When we went to mobile registration centres to renounce citizenship, we were referred to Makombe Building, room 100, but there were long and winding queues and most people could not manage to change citizenship until closing of the voters’ roll,” he said.
Said one of the elderly demonstrators Ernest Gumanya Antonio: “I checked my name and it is in the voters’ roll, but I was told I had to change my citizenship status before voting on July 31. I am a pensioner and I did not have the required $10 to regularise my citizenship. Since 1980 I have been voting and it is surprising this time I am not allowed to vote.”
Zec spokesperson Lovemore Sekeramayi said he was not in the office when the demonstrators went to Zec and was unable to give a comment.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has accused Zec of deleting names of its members from the list of polling officers for the July 31 elections.
In a statement, PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said: “News coming from all our provincial offices that all PTUZ members who had been originally listed as polling officers under Zec have had their names deleted is so disturbing, discriminatory and prejudicial that we would be very glad if a plausible explanation could be given by the Zec chairperson, Honourable Justice Rita Makarau.”
“We are also disappointed that this is not the first time that this has happened to our members. In the March 16, 2013 referendum, our members received the same treatment from Zec. Last year, our members who had already trained as census enumerators were also removed from the final list in unclear circumstances.
The story was the same last year when our members were excluded from marking national examinations by the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council, yet those teachers from other teachers’ unions were hired,” said Majongwe.
He, however, could not disclose how many PTUZ members had applied to be part of the exercise.