THE Victoria Falls biometric voter registration (BVR) process has been marred by voter intimidation with a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) official claiming councillors were blocking would-be voters from participating.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Matabeleland North provincial elections officer Mark Ndlovu confirmed the allegations saying only 5 000 prospective voters had so far been registered in the exercise, which kicked off at the beginning of December, with the majority having participated on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ndlovu said when the exercise started, the turnout was disappointing with figures of 50 registrants recorded per centre.
“During my evaluation monitoring, I established that people in Victoria Falls were not registering to vote due to some politicians who had been reportedly blocking people from going to register. The turn-up was extremely low until November 11 when I then convened a meeting with elections officers where we had to caution those councillors disturbing the process,” he said without naming the culprits.
“For instance at Ward 11, Kings Primary had only 68 registrations, Open Space Stand had three, while Chamabondo Primary had only 43.”
Victoria Falls mayor Sifiso Mpofu also confirmed the matter, saying offenders would soon be brought to book.
“The allegations are true, we received a report from Zec, but when it got unearthed, I was already in Harare. I will get back to you tomorrow [today] with proper information.
“Such acts will not be condoned and after investigations, we will bring the offenders to book. Zec reported to us after getting a lot of invariant records. For example, one would produce a completely different proof of residence compared to the previous registrant, yet the person would be a landlord. Some would come as a large group, carrying the same house address yet they would have been from Ward 7 in Chinotimba suburb, but registered as a Mkhosana Ward 11 resident.
“There were many indicators that Zec complained about, but the case was mostly about stealing of voters together with blocking of residents from registering.”
Zec said after some interventions the numbers had picked up.
On Tuesday some soldiers reportedly did rounds urging residents in Garikai and Mfelandawonye, ward 11 to go and register, while municipality officers moved street by street encouraging people to participate in BVR.
“But today [Wednesday] we recorded 966 at Chamabondo, Kings 537 and at the open space the number rose to 802,” Ndlovu said.
“I also sampled some wards at Chinotimba Bus Terminus which had 702 from a very slow start too, while Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) had 740, so most centres had promising figures.”
Ndlovu said they had 146 centres dotted around the province.
Zec requires proof of residence in the form a utility bill, traditional leader’s confirmation letter, landlord’s statement, employer’s statement, offer letters and posted letters confirming an individual’s place of residence or an affidavit.
The registration exercise is still ongoing.