DISCORD in the opposition camp over coalition talks and the anti-voter registration campaigns taking place through social media platforms have been cited as the main factors leading to the low turnout at voter registration centres in Bulawayo.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
According to figures released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) last week, nearly one million potential voters had registered at various centres throughout the country although Bulawayo had only registered about 29 000 voters in the first phase of the exercise which ends tomorrow.
Zec is targeting to register 5,5 million people before the 2018 elections.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said the low figures registered in Bulawayo were also caused by discord in the opposition parties, particularly on coalition talks.
“We note with disappointment that some people have embarked on an anti-voting social media campaign designed to discourage citizens from registering to vote. Some slanderous messages meant to defame the MDC Alliance are being circulated on some social media platforms too by the very same naysayers,” Ndlovu said.
The formation of the MDC Alliance has left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) divided, while the MDC-T was almost pushed to the same following differences surrounding the unveiling of the opposition parties’ coalition.
“The unidentified anti-alliance mudslingers are reportedly on a mission of promoting voter apathy among Zimbabwean citizens by telling the people that votes will be rigged and hence their vote will not make a difference,” Ndlovu added.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa, however, said the blame-game was not necessary, but that political parties just had to increase their voter registration awareness campaigns.
“The resolutions as reached by our national people’s council heralded the intensification of Zapu’s campaign drive for the 2018 elections. The exercise comprises of massively intensive voter registration campaigns and voter education. There is just but no substitute to that,” Maphosa said.
MDC-T Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Felix Magalela Sibanda also weighed in, saying: “Zimbabweans across the political divide, we need to put the country first and go out and register and subsequently vote in 2018 to extricate ourselves from this political decay caused by President Robert Mugabe and his party.”
Zanu PF Bulawayo chairperson Dennis Ndlovu could not be reached for comment yesterday.