By PRIVILEGE GUMBODETE/ CATHERINE MUCHIRI
OPPOSITION parties have called on government to urgently capacitate the Registrar-General (RG)’s Office to produce identity documents to enable new voters to register for the upcoming by-elections.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday said he would proclaim by-election dates next month.
Voter registration closes after the proclamation date.
Opposition parties expressed concern that the RG’s office was failing to produce the identity documents needed for voter registration ahead of the by-elections.
The RG’s Office has suspended the issuance of National IDs citing lack of resources.
MDC Alliance national deputy secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga said the failure to issue the critical documents was deliberate to frustrate the youth from registering to vote.
“Most importantly there is the issue of identity documents as you are aware our RG’s Office has not been issuing IDs and that is a challenge and we feel that it is a deliberate move to actually make sure that those young people don’t get to register and don’t get to vote on the day of elections,” Shiriyedenga said.
MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube added: “The registrar-general is not playing its role to expectation and is yet to give a tangible excuse. Therefore, the party is considering sending an official delegation to it to find out exactly what the issue is.
“This is a very vital part of the election process where everybody has to be registered and they need national identity documents to do that.”
The issuance of national identity documents is a statutory requirement in terms of the National Registration Act [Chapter 10:17] which specifies that every citizen, alien and refugee should obtain identity documents.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) recently postponed a planned voter registration blitz citing the RG’s Office’s inability to issue identity documents.
Voter registration is provided for in section 17A of the Electoral Act.