THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) says it has noted an unusually higher concentration of registered voters in Zanu PF’s traditional strongholds, namely Midlands, Mashonaland West, East and Manicaland provinces when compared to opposition MDC-T strongholds.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Zesn’s aggregated biometric voter registration (BVR) statistics show there was a higher voter registration turnout in rural areas while Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South which are considered opposition strongholds, recorded the least.
A detailed analysis of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) data by the electoral watchdog indicated that Epworth and Harare South had an unusually high voter registration turnout.
“Of concern to Zesn are the higher numbers of registered voters in Goromonzi South with 65 539, Epworth (63 961), Dangamvura-Chikanga (58 000) and Harare South (60 270) constituencies. This points out to the need for more polling stations in the respective constituencies and the need for a delimitation exercise post 2018 elections,” Zesn said.
Epworth, Goromonzi South, Harare South and Chikanga-Dangamvura are currently held by Zanu PF legislators and populated by mostly resettled farmers and illegal settlers.
The fight for electoral victory will also be in Zanu PF strongholds – Midlands (717 510), Manicaland (66 943), Mashonaland West (611 751) Mashonaland East (585 198) and Masvingo (583 599), accounting for over 60% of registered voters, while Bulawayo has only 211 276 registered voters.
“Zec provisional BVR statistics show that a substantial proportion of adult Zimbabweans 2 039 056 did not register in the BVR blitz.
Harare has a projected adult population of 1,3 million [1 345 818], but had fewer than 800 000, who have registered to vote,” Zesn said.
The 2018 general elections will be dominated by young people, who make up over 70% of the registered voters.
The data released by Zec indicates that the majority of those registered to vote, 70% or 3 612 039 from the 5 185 072 on the voters’ roll are aged between 20 years and 44 years, only 13,9% are in the 45-60 age group. Zesn has called on Zec to ensure that they ramp up the registration drive in Harare and Bulawayo in light of the low voter turnout.
“Zec must consider establishing more registration centres in Harare and Bulawayo for the continuous registration exercise to increase the numbers of registered voters as the data indicates the lowest registration turnouts in these provinces. There is need for the Zec and civil society organisations to amplify its voter education efforts particularly in Harare and Bulawayo since these provinces have the lowest proportions of registered voters,” Zesn said.