ZANU PF supporters with the help of traditional leaders in outlying areas have reportedly intensified their intimidation tactics at voter registration centres, where they demand serial numbers from certificates issued to registered
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Independent elections watchdog, Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn), in its weekly report on the ongoing biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise, said the practice was rampant in rural areas, whereby registrants were being misinformed about the BVR and its purpose.
“Potential registrants are being informed that having registered using the system, it is possible to know who they will vote for in the 2018 elections. These cases were reported in Mudzi North Ward 1, Murewa North Ward 4 and Muzarabani Ward 3, among other areas,” Zesn said.
The elections watchdog claimed that traditional leaders were withholding food aid and threatening violence on perceived opposition supporters.
“In addition, Zesn has received reports of registrants being forced to submit their names and details such as serial numbers of voter registration slips to ward chairpersons and other community leaders as a way of intimidating them into believing that their voting choices will be traceable in the 2018 election,” it said.
“Zesn, therefore, urges the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to conduct comprehensive voter education and information dissemination to ensure that citizens are well informed about the BVR process to demystify some of these shenanigans by politicians.”
But Zanu PF youth league secretary Kudzanai Chipanga yesterday dismissed the allegations as baseless.
“Our duty as Zanu PF, especially the youth league, is to persuade, convince and lure people to vote for our party. In fact, at this time, we don’t even need to threaten anyone because our bus is already full, it’s oversubscribed. If anyone has been threatened, they should report to the police,” he said.
Zesn also raised an issue of the high number of turned-away potential voters.
“Zesn observed that some citizens intending to register were turned away on the basis of presenting defaced identity documents, for being ‘Aliens’, failure to produce proof of residence and producing wrong forms of identification such as drivers’ licences. The government must adequately publicise the procedures for regularising the citizenship status of citizens classified as ‘Aliens’ to enable them to register to vote,” it said.