BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
CITIZENS are still struggling to access national identity (ID) documents and birth certificates despite government launching a national mobile registration exercise last week.
The situation is affecting those who wish to register to vote in the 2023 general elections.
NewsDay visited some of the registration centres in Harare and witnessed chaotic scenes, with hundreds of people, including students who had converged to access the identity documents, failing to get them.
The blitz started on April 1 and is expected to end on September 30 this year. Government said it was targeting to issue two million IDs and birth certificates during the blitz.
During the numerous COVID-19 lockdowns, the Registrar-General’s Office was offering limited services.
Margaret Murebasekwa, a 45-year-old woman, said she lost her ID last year and has been struggling to get a new one.
“We came here at Budiriro Community Hall at around 4am, but we were not attended to yet. I’m number 300. The queues are not moving as some are disregarding the queues,” Murebasekwa said at mid-morning.
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Kelvin Chirombo, a Form 4 pupil, said: “I have been struggling to apply for an ID for the past three days now. It is needed at school in order for me to register for examinations. The process is just too slow.”
Meanwhile, in a bid to ensure more people get registered to vote, electoral watchdogs are now offering free transport to ferry potential voters to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) voter registration centres.
Elections Resource Centre (ERC) legal and advocacy officer Takunda Tsunga said citizens should book in advance in order for them to be ferried to the registration centres.
“The ERC has a shuttle service that takes citizens to and from their nearest registration centre; citizens simply call our toll free line on 08080219 to book to be taken there. We also have mobilisation activities where we are partnering with lifestyle events to reach out to youths,” Tsunga said.
Project Vote 263 chairperson Allan Chipoyi said: “Zec has done nothing in making sure that people are aware of the blitz. If we make any mistake, we might end up having fewer people who get registered to vote than the first blitz. So we are doing our best to boost the morale of people and spread awareness, especially in areas like Epworth, St Mary’s and Harare South where there are a lot of people who didn’t register to vote.”
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