Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have said Zanu-PF is more visible on the ground, compared to opposition parties that are caught up in internal fights, instead of conducting voter education programmes ahead of the forthcoming elections.The opposition parties always try to create self-fulfilling prophecies to justify imminent loss ahead of elections, instead of mobilising their membership. Addressing journalists at Bulawayo Press Club yesterday on observations made during the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR), NGOs expressed satisfaction with the number of registered voters so far.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is conducting a mop-up BVR programme which ends on Thursday, with over 5,2 million people having registered so far. Women Institute Leaders for Development (WILD) director Ms Samukeliso Khumalo said Zanu-PF was the only party visible on the ground, urging people to register to vote.
She said supporters of opposition parties were disgruntled. Ms Khumalo said opposition party members seem not to know the purpose of voting or the people to vote for. “The opposition political players seem to be concerned about their party problems, the alliance, the coalition which up to now they are yet to agree on candidates,” said Ms Khumalo.
She said opposition parties had not been seen on the ground mobilising citizens to register. “For me, political parties except for the ruling party, have disappointed us in this process,” said Ms Khumalo. The opposition, especially MDC-T, is divided over the formation of the MDC Alliance and the divisions worsened after its ailing leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai hinted at retiring from active politics.
Ms Khumalo said during voter mobilisation campaigns, her organisation noted that many people in the Matabeleland region had neither birth certificates nor identity cards required for one to register to vote. Elections Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhini said although there were concerns in some quarters over the number of people who have registered to vote in Bulawayo and Harare, statistics show that registered voters in the two cities have doubled from those who voted in the 2013 elections.
He said in Harare 400 000 people voted during the 2013 elections, but so far over one million people have registered to vote. “If you come back to Bulawayo, ZEC figures suggest that 123 000 voted in the 2013 elections and there are 236 125 that have registered to vote,” said Mr Chimhini.