Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo this week described MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai as mad for asking a perfectly legitimate question on the affairs of the Registrar-General’s (RG)Office.
Comment: NewsDay Editor
The RG’s Office recently despatched two buses to Manicaland, ostensibly at the invitation of an apostolic sect that will be holding a meeting there.
The first question Chombo should have answered is why officials from Harare had to leave for Manicaland, when there is a RG’s Office in that province, which has been carrying out registrations for donkey years.
Before we even raise the issue of vote rigging, as alleged by MDC-T, there are moral questions that Chombo needs to answer on government expenditure.
The officials in the two buses will need allowances, food and accommodation for the days when they are in Manicaland and this will be a lot of money for the obviously skint government.
The office could have saved money by deploying people already based in Mutare for the exercise – that is if at all they are being deployed to carry out a registration programme.
This is how government money is wasted, at a time when the country can ill-afford such profligate spending.
On the other hand, suspicion of a parallel voter registration exercise and some election shenanigans is not far-fetched, because the whole exercise is cloaked in mystery and the government is not being open about it.
If the government was sincere that this was a genuine documentation exercise, why have they not extended it to other churches?
Instead, they are keeping it within the apostolic sect, which President Robert Mugabe has overtly courted to the extent of being dressed in their white garments.
It does not help that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is being quite opaque in the manner in which it wants to carry out its voter registration exercise.
This has raised fears the government is plotting to frustrate the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise, meaning the country would have to resort to the Registrar General’s voters’ roll, which as we know, is an absolute farce.
This is where the trip to Manicaland is important, as if the country is to use the RG’s voters’ roll, then the significance of this weekend’s so-called documentation exercise becomes quite apparent.
The government could be tinkering with that voters’ roll just in case the BVR exercise fails.
We all remember what happened the last time the RG’s voters’ roll was used.
Political parties were literally not allowed to have sight of it and the result was a disputed election, which has further condemned Zimbabweans into a life of misery.