GWANDA residents have appealed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to censure the Gwanda municipality for allegedly charging $1 for a printout of proof of residence for locals seeking to register as potential voters in the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Gwanda Residents Association (GRA) claimed the charge was too excessive and “extortionist”, arguing council should provide the document free of charge.
In a letter dated October 24 and addressed to Zec, GRA secretary-general, Bekezela Maduma-Fuzwayo pleaded with the electoral management body to urgently intervene and order the local authority to stop charging for production of the document.
“As per your media statement that citizens should report any government official or government authority levying the issuance of proof of residence to persons wanting to register as voters, please note that the municipality of Gwanda is levying would be registrants $1 for a proof of residence,” he wrote.
GRA recently engaged the municipality to scrap or reduce its charges, but the request was spurned by the local authority.
“We have, as GRA, engaged council on the matter as evidence in the correspondences attached, but we have not been successfully listened to by the authority. Please note that as per correspondences attached, we have asked council to review their charge to a cost recovery 10 cents if need be but that has not been accepted by council,” Fuzwayo added in the letter.
Zec has made proof of residence one of its key requirements in the BVR exercise, although various interest groups including political parties are lobbying for scrapping of the requirement.
However, Zec commissioner, Joice Kazembe recently told Southern Eye that the “requirement is law”.