ZANU Manicaland provincial chairman Samuel Undenge has warned local traditional leaders against ripping off poor villagers by demanding $1 for each copy of proof of residence they would have processed under the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Addressing a provincial coordinating committee meeting in Mutare on Sunday, Undenge railed against the practice which he said was likely to drive away potential voters ahead of next year’s polls.
“We are into politics to win elections, politics is a game of numbers. Let’s have the numbers and we want a landslide victory next year,’’ he said.
“I am told in Chipinge there are traditional leaders who are demanding money from villagers seeking proof of residence affidavits for voter registration. We are aware that they are even charging for a pencil, please we should not do that as we will discourage our supporters from registering to vote.”
Chipinge South legislator Enock Porusingazi later told NewsDay that they have addressed the issue.
“We have addressed the issue because we know it was frustrating the government programme. This all started during the issuing of birth certificates and identity cards where traditional leaders charged a fee to facilitate the issuing of the documents,’’ he said.
“Traditional leaders are not practitioners who can charge, they have various benefits. Government has made it clear that people should get birth certificates for free and yet they (traditional leaders) were busy charging. If they have no stationery they should ask us and we can provide them as their MPs. If they need pencils, bond paper we can assist them,’’ he said.
Speaking at the same event, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene claimed that some property owners were refusing to give their tenants proof of residence affidavits.