BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE MDC Alliance youth assembly says the majority of youth in Bulawayo were keen to register as first-time voters in the 2023 polls, but most of them do not have national identity documents.
They also cited failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to further decentralise its registration centres as frustrating potential voters.
MDC Alliance national youth executive committee member Discent Collins Bajila made the claims yesterday after party youths embarked on a door-to-door campaign to mobilise for voter registration in the province.
The opposition is targeting 90 000 new voter registrants in Bulawayo ahead of the 2023 elections.
A mass voter registration exercise is seen as key in saving Bulawayo from losing at least two constituencies in the next delimitation exercise for failing to meet the required voter population threshold.
“There are basically five issues which seem to have been a hindrance for people to get registered. The first one is the non-availability of identity documents. The bulk of the people we are unable to assist to register to vote are those who fall in this category,” Bajila said.
“The second category is that of people who do have IDs, but are affected by the centralisation of registration offices. The third category is of course those who have lost interest in politics, but it’s a small population.”
He added: “The fourth category is those who have religious reasons.
“They are also a small population and then the fifth are those who are saying ‘I am yet to decide’.
“The biggest category is that of those who have no identity documents.”
The Registrar-General’s Office is struggling to issue identity documents citing lack of consumables.
Previous elections have been marred by voter apathy, with youth cited as the main culprits.