CIVIL society groups and opposition party activists in Matabeleland have accused Zanu PF officials of demanding voter registration slips from potential voters, in defiance of a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) directive.
BY SILAS NKALA
Habakkuk Trust, in its latest report, revealed that Zanu PF activists at times ordered villagers to produce their biometric voter registration (BVR) slips in order to receive food handouts and government-sourced agricultural inputs.
“It’s either the electorate is being duped into believing that their vote can be traced or they can only receive government or party aid upon divulging their serial numbers. The ruling party was reportedly engaged in vote-buying tactics in Umzingwane ward 5, as a way of luring supporters in preparation for the upcoming harmonised elections,” the trust said.
“It is alleged that Zanu PF was moving around the ward, promising to give cattle and farming inputs to villagers, who would vote for the party. It is alleged that the ruling party, through the village secretary, is currently moving around recording details of villagers, including BVR serial numbers for those who would want to be recipients in the programme.”
“The abuse of serial numbers by unruly elements within political parties is disturbing as it distorts electoral information resulting in a confused electorate. Furthermore, the recording of serial numbers is deemed as a criminal offence, which can attract heavy jail sentences or disqualification of election candidates,” the trust said.
“It is, therefore, imperative for the commission and civic society organisations to step up and educate the electorate and political parties on the issue of serial numbers. If unaddressed, this issue has the potential to cause fear and despondence among the electorate, thus, undermining the principle of democratic elections,” Habakkuk Trust said.
Opposition Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity Umzingwane constituency parliamentary candidate, Ronald Moyo, said he also received similar reports, when he was conducting door-to-door campaigns recently.
He said villagers were afraid to meet him and his team in the open, but preferred that he talks to them in the privacy of their homes.
“People in Umzingwane are afraid and it appears the issue of collection of voter slip serial numbers continues in the area despite the directive by Zec and the police that it is illegal,” Moyo said.
Zec and the police have since declared it illegal for anyone to demand or collect the serial numbers from the prospective voters.
But Zanu PF have since admitted that it was collecting serial numbers from party members only in preparing its structures ahead of the polls.
Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba’s (pictured) personal assistant, Felly Maziriri asked Southern Eye to send questions in writing, as her boss was in a meeting.
“Put your questions in writing,” she said.
Chigumba had not yet responded to questions sent to her at the time of going for print.