Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu , Chronicle Reporter
TRADITIONAL leaders in Matabeleland South Province have called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to decentralise the voter registration exercise to rural areas in order to protect the province from losing some of its constituencies due to low voter registration turnout.
Matabeleland provinces risk having fewer constituencies and wards when delimitation is done as some areas have low numbers of registered voters. Matabeleland South Province has 13 constituencies.
A constituency should be made up of about 26 000 voters.
In an interview, Chief Bango from Mangwe District said he had disseminated the information on voter registration in his area and people were eager to register.
“People are eager to register to vote but at the moment they aren’t able to travel to the registration centres which are located at the Zec district offices. There is need for the registration process to be rolled out to the communities as soon as possible and should cover all areas including remote parts of the country.
“In my area, I have informed people on the importance of registering and I have explained to them what is at stake so they are eager to register,” he said.
Headman Manguba from Bulilima District said there was also a need for Zec to roll out a massive voter education campaign within communities. He said before that the Registry Department should deploy mobile teams to assist people without national identity cards. Headman Manguba said many people who are supposed to register as voters had no IDs.
Zec Matabeleland South Provincial Election Officer, Mr Rabson Nyoni said the registration process was under way at the provincial and district offices. He said the response was very low as only people surrounding the registration centres were registering.
Mr Nyoni said as from April 1 to May 31 only 82 people had registered to vote. He said there was a need for citizens from Matabeleland South Province to come out and register in numbers as almost all the constituencies did not have the required number of voters.
Speaking recently Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Abedinico Ncube said the province risked losing some of its constituencies if voter registration was low.
“The voter registration is under way and people should register. It is important that we encourage those who are eligible to vote to register.
Statistics indicate that voter registration is very low in our province and this will negatively affect us as we risk losing some of our constituencies. I call upon our esteemed traditional leaders and councillors to encourage our communities to participate in this important exercise,” he said.
The delimitation exercise which is being conducted by Zec is a process of dividing the country into constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections. The process is carried out in terms of sections 160 and 161 of the Constitution.
Beitbridge East has 34 733 registered voters, Beitbridge West 16 427, Bulilima East 17 977, Bulilima West 15 966, Gwanda Central 27 592, Gwanda North 16 173, Gwanda South 15 523, Insiza North 25 858, Insiza South 14 664, Mangwe 18 846, Matobo North 19 103, Matobo South 15 824 and Umzingwane has 25 473 registered voters. — @DubeMatutu.