ZLHR takes on RG’s Office over IDs

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Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
HUMAN rights lawyers have given the Registrar-General’s (RG) Office a two-day ultimatum to provide information on the number of people issued with national identity documents (IDs) to enable them to register as voters.

This came after Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba yesterday said the request by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) for the number of persons issued with registration documents should be directed to the RG’s Office.

“As you rightly point out, the registration exercise has been done to allow stakeholders to acquire ID cards. However, the issuance of ID cards is the responsibility of the RG’s Office. We, therefore, request you to direct your inquiry on the number of people who were issued with identity documents to that office,” Chigumba said in her letter to the human rights defenders.

“Zec objectives remain to effect voter registration for all stakeholders with requisite documentation.”

In a letter dated February 9 addressed to Registrar-General Henry Machiri, ZLHR requested the number of people issued with IDs after Zec cancelled the voter registration blitz last year saying the targeted population had no identity documents.

“In light of the foregoing, and the right to access information guaranteed in section 62 of the Constitution, which entitles us to access information held by the State or government agencies like youth departments, we request that you furnish us with the number of people who have been issued with national IDs from November 2021 to date per province,” the human rights lawyers said.

They also demanded the dates, schedules and places where the planned mobile registration exercise would be conducted per province.

“We look forward to your response within seven days of your receipt of this letter, failure of which we will institute legal proceedings for an order compelling you to furnish us with the requested information and an order compelling you to conduct the mobile voter registration exercise as per your undertaking.”

Initially, Zec had announced that the mobile voter registration exercise would take place from December 6, 2021, but postponed it to this month to allow eligible persons to acquire national identity documents that are a prerequisite for voter registration.

Many aspiring voter registrants are being turned away because of lack of IDs.

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