The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has petitioned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to scrap the proof of residence requirement for prospctive voters who are registering under the new Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) currently happening countrywide.
BY TAPIWA ZIVIRA
In a letter addressed to Zec chairperson Rita Makarau, the forum’s Executive Director Blessin Gorejena said, “since the commencement of this exercise, we have received reports that many people are encountering challenges and being hindered from registering as voters due to challenges in accessing the proof of residence.”
“The majority of the people, especially the rural villagers, urban poor and previously displaced persons, do not have any of the listen documents so they must produce a residence affidavit sworn before a commissioner of oaths. This has proved a nightmare to most people as the commissioners of oaths are not easily accessible to them.”
According to Gorejena, the rigorous process of acquiring proof of residence potentially disenfranchises prospective voters.
“In a nation of over 12 million citizens and an unemployment rate of over 80 percent, where the majority have no access to housing, let alone being homeowners, Zec’s requirements of proof of residence as a prerequisite for voter registration hs become an impediment to the enjoyment of the right to participate in elections. This creates a risk of frustrating willing voters and disefranchsing millions of Zimbabwe,” reads part of the letter.