The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) will roll out voter education on the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise in the next few weeks, just ahead of a national blitz planned by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Zesn national director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said a week ago they received a letter of invitation from Zec to help carry out voter education and were now in the process of training 2 000 volunteers from across the country to act as both observers and educators during the BVR rollout.
“We only received the letter two weeks ago and we could not roll out the voter education campaign because the requirements were not also clear to us. Now that we have received all the information from Zec, we will be taking our material for voter education to them for clearance, then, we start our own training before launching the voter education,” she said.
Zec officially launched BVR on September 14, with hardly any voter education around the process and is yet to mount any meaningful campaign, which has been shambolic since its launch.
Zesn chairperson, Andrew Makoni, said failure to provide potential voters with education ahead of time discourages potential voters.
“Many people are unaware and were not prepared to commence this action of voter registration because the ideal situation would have been to do a voter registration campaign first before the registration.
What has happened is that potential voters don’t even know where the voter registration centres are or what is needed. They get to know about these things when they get to the centre and are forced to go back home without registering.
“This has the effect of discouraging potential voters,” he said.
Makoni also expressed dismay over the formula used by Zec to allocate registration centres, saying there was need to ensure more centres are allocated to more densely populated areas.
“Heavily-populated areas like Bulawayo and Harare were only allocated one and two centres respectively, making it difficult for people to register. It is also taking over 10 minutes to register one person. We hope that once Zec receives all its BVR kits it will address this issue,” he said.