BY LORRAINE MUROMO/SHARON BUWERIMWE
HEAVY rains being experienced in some parts of the country’s low-lying areas have affected the voter registration blitz, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) claimed yesterday.
Zec has embarked on a voter registration exercise in over 210 centres in the country in preparation for the 2023 harmonised elections.
Recently, tropical Cyclone Ana left a trail of destruction in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces, where bridges, schools and houses were destroyed, leaving hundreds of families stranded in Nyanga, Buhera and Chimanimani.
The Southern Africa Development Community Climate Services Centre has warned of an impending tropical storm, Cyclone Batsirai, which is evolving from the south-west Indian Ocean, and is expected in the next few days.
In a statement yesterday, Zec said the heavy rains were presenting access challenges to some areas where it is supposed to register voters.
The electoral body said it was experiencing difficulties in transporting equipment and personnel.
“The incessant heavy rains which have caused flooding in low-lying areas present a potential challenge of personnel and equipment deployment in certain areas for the commission,” the statement read.
“Already, flooding has been reported in the Chimanimani, Muzarabani, Mudzi, Chipinge, Chikombedzi and Beitbridge areas just to mention but a few.”
Zec said due to the heavy rains, voter registrations routines had been altered accordingly.
“Depending on the situation on the ground, the voter registration teams have been advised to adjust their itineraries accordingly and revisit the affected areas once flooding has receded,” the electoral management body said.
“The affected communities and other stakeholders will be ensured of any such changes. The safety of all life must be safeguarded at all costs and the electorate as well as voter registration teams are advised not to take risks by crossing flooded rivers.”
Meanwhile, the voter registration blitz that began yesterday started on a very low note in most areas.
In Harare, very few people turned out to register as voters.
Apart from the heavy rains that are said to be interfering with the voter registration process, last year, Zec bemoaned failure by government to adequately fund electoral activities, including the pending March 2022 by-elections as one of the reasons for the low voter registration.
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