POLICE were yesterday called in to quell restive prospective voters, who were frustrated by long delays at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (Zec) Harare registration centre in Mbare.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Since the commencement of voter registration on Monday, the process has faced many hitches owing to slowness by officers to register people and demands on proof of residence affidavits.
Zimbabwe is expected to go for elections in less than a year and Zec is compiling a new voters’ roll using biometric voter registration kits. So far, only 400 kits have arrived in the country against an expected 3 000.
At Remembrance Hall in Mbare, only one kit is being used and several people have raised concern over the slowness and Zec’s preparedness to carry out a credible registration exercise.
As people became more restive, anti-riot police were called in to save the situation.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, who was at the centre when police arrived, told NewsDay that the Remembrance Drive scenario cast doubt on the credibility of the whole process.
“There is chaos. There is just one machine being manned by three people yet there are hundreds of people outside,” he said.
“The service is painstakingly slow and people are obviously very angry and they become very restless. What surprises me is that anti-riot police came to disturb people and people scattered, it’s like a war zone.”
Since Monday, NewsDay was inundated with calls from concerned people, who were increasingly becoming impatient with the delays.
On average, the registration process must take four minutes.
However, in most cases, the process is taking longer.
On Monday, Zec only managed to register just over 50 and just over 60 the following day.
The officers manning the process conceded they were still learning the registration process, promising to be more efficient with time.
Elizabeth Chinyanga, from Glen View, said she spent almost five hours at the registration centre and was still unassisted.
“I came in the morning with a council bill statement as my proof of residence, but the house is in my husband’s name. I was told that was not enough and I still had to fill in the affidavit for proof of residence. I have waited patiently up to now, almost five hours, but indications are that I may not register today,” she said.
Others said they were being turned away for various reasons and complained that they were struggling with transport costs to keep on coming back to the registration centre.
In Chitungwiza, Concerned Citizens Support Network of Zimbabwe (CCSNZ) said registration was taking much longer than expected and people were likely to lose patience over the delays.
CCSNZ called on Zec to be thorough and be more efficient.
MDC Alliance spokesperson, Jacob Ngarivhume said they would take up the matter with Zec.
“We have noted with great displeasure the confusion at the registration centres,” he said.
“It is very unfortunate to realise that people are being turned away simply because there are no forms. If this confusion continues, we will approach Zec to register our displeasure at the confusion that has marred this registration process. We are very unhappy about that.”