A PALTRY 43 000 potential voters had successfully registered by the end of the first phase of the biometric voter registration programme in Mwenezi East, West and Chivi South constituencies, amid reports that most eligible voters from the three constituencies had migrated to neighbouring South Africa in search of greener pastures.
The number is less than 47 000 people registered to vote in the April 2017 by-election in Mwenezi East, which was won by Zanu PF’s Joosbi Omar.
The two Mwenezi constituencies are traditionally Zanu PF strongholds. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) provincial officer Zex Pudurai confirmed the statistics last week.
He said projections were that Mwenezi East alone should have 60 000 registered voters because it had 30 000 new arrivals at Chingwizi in addition to the 27 000 that have always been in the constituency. Mwenezi West was also expected to register at least 30 000 voters.
“The number of people who have turned up to register in Mwenezi is disappointing. Mwenezi East alone should have at least 60 000 voters because of the Tokwe-Mukosi relocations, which added over 30 000 on top of the 27 000 who were already there,” he said.
“The low turnout could be attributed to a number of factors like the migration of people to South Africa looking for employment opportunities. There are other reasons though where other people have decided to register in neighbouring constituencies. Others don’t have IDs and its taking long to get one from the Registrar-General’s Office,” Pudurai said.
Bishop Lyphet Matenda Mugaviri of the Zion Christian Church-Kumuka Kuvakafa said although the process was going on smoothly, most villagers particularly from Chingwizi did not have acceptable identification documents. — Masvingo Mirror