‘One stop centre for IDs, voter registration blitz’

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Jasper Mangwana

BY PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE/HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
ELECTORAL watchdogs have called on government to unveil one-stop mobile registration centres for national identity cards and voter registration to ensure that citizens are able to vote in the general elections expected next year.

Government launched a national mobile registration blitz to issue out birth certificates and national identity cards (IDs) last Friday.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) will also begin its voter registration blitz on April 11 and will run until April 30.

But election observers feel that the two registration exercises can be carried out concurrently at a one-stop centre to make voter registration automatic.


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Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust executive director Igneous Sadziwa said: “The two processes should have been conducted concurrently to harness an avalanche of youths who are flocking registration centres so that they become first-time voters. We suspect that this is yet another deliberate attempt to deprive first-time voters of an easy opportunity to register.”

Sadziwa said the Home Affairs ministry and Zec could have worked together to establish one-stop registration centres to encourage young people to register to vote.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairperson Andrew Makoni said: “It was going to be cost-effective for citizens if these two exercises commenced at the same time and in the same localities. While getting the national ID, they can then register as voters because it may be costly for one to travel from the centres where they get IDs to voter registration centres.

“It should be possible for the two exercises to be carried out at the same centre for as long as both have their gadgets. There should be no conflict here alongside with the Registrar-General’s officials who are issuing out IDs, while Zec is doing the same with their equipment.”

Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana said: “We will have to check with the administration guys and see what has to be done. We understand that the RG’s Office has already started its registration blitz and the commission is starting on the 11th.”

In Parliament, Home Affairs deputy minister Ruth Mavhunga-Maboyi was grilled over the issue of voter registration and issuance of IDs by Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai (Citizens Coalition for Change) who wanted to know whether the current registration blitz would enable citizens to also register to vote.

Mavhunga-Maboyi responded: “We have started the national registration process and for now, we are in control in terms of issuance of national IDs.”

Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (CCC) then asked her to explain if victims of the Matabeleland and Midlands 1980s Gukurahundi genocide would also be issued with IDs since their late parents were no longer there to testify on their behalf.

“There is a waiver for those in rural areas. We have headmen and chiefs who will write letters for them so that this can be addressed,” she said.

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi added:  “President Emmerson Mnangagwa went to Tsholotsho and met the San community, who faced the same problems. Cabinet made a decision that everyone will be registered.

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