Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s mobile biometric voter registration began on a very low note in Bulawayo Tuesday with some centres failing to register a single person by 1 pm, CITE can report.
The mobile voter registration which was postponed late last year is being rolled out in two phases. The first phase runs from February 1 to 28 while the second one will be from April 11 to 30.
The exercise comes at a time when civic society organisations have queried ZEC’s 2 972 new voters registered in the whole of 2021.
Unless a significant number of people turn out in their numbers during the current mobile voter registration blitz, the Matabeleland region, which has the least number of registered voters in the country is likely to lose some of its constituencies when the electoral management body conducts the delimitation of constituencies in August.
CITE visited a number of polling stations around Bulawayo Tuesday and discovered that there was an extremely poor turnout of registrants.
At all the visited polling centres save for the two, ZEC officers were seated on their own with no one to register.
The registration places were deserted with no indication that there could be registration taking place save for the direction signs to polling stations.
Polling officers were not in a position to release any information saying they had not been authorised to do so by their bosses.
At the registry offices, there was just one person being attended to after 10am when CITE arrived. That was despite the polling station tent being visibly seen from outside.
ZEC officers were seated doing nothing at Barham Green Hall when CITE visited the place, with no one coming in to register.
It was the same story at Mahatshula Primary School and Lotshe Primary School in Makokoba.
However, when the CITE team was about to leave Mahatshula, 18-year-old Tatenda Mungani came in to register.
“I just decided to go and register to vote as a youth,” he said.
“The process was fine, there were no delays.”
He added that by registering as a voter he wants to have a say on the country’s leadership.
At Lotshe Primary School, a ZEC official said they had not registered a single new voter by 1pm, adding they had done a few transfers.
“I think the location of the polling station in a school set-up is the one that is hindering people from coming in to register as voters,” said the official.
“Some people could be owing to the school and would want to be coming in here. However, as we move to open spaces within the constituency we hope to see many people coming forward to register.”
At Entumbane High School, ZEC officials who could not be drawn to comment on how the day had progressed said the poor turnout was expected being the first day of the exercise, adding they looked forward to more people as days go by.