The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) will from tomorrow embark on a voter education campaign, five days before a registration blitz ahead of next year’s elections.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Initially, Zec had set aside seven days for voter education.
In an interview yesterday, Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau said due to logistical issues, it would be impossible to allocate seven days to the publicity campaign.
“Our voter educators will be deployed starting from Friday (tomorrow) and they will go ahead of voter registration that is starting on Tuesday by about five days and not the seven days that we had indicated,” she said.
“They will be in the field five days before the blitz that is starting next week on Tuesday.
“It is enough, remember we are in a particular locality for 16 days, so they will start five days before and they will be there even when registration is going on to continue educating the people.”
Concern has been raised on Zec’s preparedness to conduct adequate voter education, considering the initial registration process experienced a lot of hitches, as potential voters were unaware of the documents to take to registration centres.
The Election Resource Centre (ERC) said although it welcomed the voter education exercise, more still had to be done to reach out to everyone.
“While the ERC appreciates that civil society organisations have been invited by Zec to conduct voter education on voter registration, it would be important for Zec to reconsider and dedicate more time beyond the five-day voter education period allocated for each area per phase prior to the national voter registration blitz,” the organisation said.
ERC said Zec should be open about its plans for voter education and registration.
“An informed public is one of the key guiding principles for voter registration and it is unfortunate that feedback from the last two weeks of the process points to limited information about the voter registration process,” the organisation continued.
ERC said the Electoral Act must be fully aligned with the Constitution to ensure that voter education is opened up to stakeholders
without any restrictions and that it must be a continuous process in line with section 17A of the Constitution.
Zec is targeting to register up to seven million people.