Plea for voter registration blitz extension

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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

BY SILAS NKALA
CIVIC Society organisations, political parties and the public in general have pleaded with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to extend its mobile voter registration blitz which ends today.

The voter registration blitz ran concurrently with the Registrar General’s (RGs) mobile registration exercise to issue a total of two million identity documents (IDs) and birth certificates.

It also coincided with the national census.

However, various stakeholders from Bulawayo and the Matabeleland hinterland have called for an extension of the voter registration exercise to save the region from losing constituencies during the delimitation process.

“We want to have the voter registration blitz extended beyond 30 April. Twenty days was not enough,” Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) Bulawayo spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said in an interview.

Ibhetshu likazulu secretary general Mbuso Fuzwayo said the mobile identification registration exercise must also be extended to ensure people get identity documents and register to vote.

“The voter blitz must be extended. They must make sure people get documentation before those doing voter registration and the number of people getting identity documents in a day is far too little which shows that the government was not ready logistically,” Fuzwayo said.

secretary for administration Thembelani Dube weighed in saying every citizen had a right to an identity document to be eligible to vote.

“It is the constitutional rights and responsibilities of all residents who are 18 years and above to obtain identity documents and partake in all electoral processes in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Human rights activist Effie Ncube argued the exercise must be extended by a further six months.

“At the same time it and other stakeholders must mount massive awareness campaigns to get people to register as voters,” Ncube said.

“Closing the outreach exercise this weekend will lead to disenfranchisement of many potential voters and undermine the legitimacy of elections. The mandate to govern must come from the widest possible electoral base. Equally important in motivating people to vote is ZEC dealing with perceptions of bias in its operations.”

ZEC Bulawayo provincial Elections Officer Innocent Ncube said his office will stand guided by the secretariat of the elections management body.

“That is beyond my powers, only the commission up there can make decisions on whether to extend the blitz or not and this they can do looking at many factors such as if the numbers on the ground allow for the extension,” Ncube said.

“We may extend, yet numbers on the ground do not need that to be done. The commission at national level is better placed on that because we give them updates on the process daily.”

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