Opposition parties concerned at low voter registration turnout

Source: Opposition parties concerned at low voter registration turnout – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 18, 2017

OPPOSITION parties have expressed concern at the low turnout at biometric voter registration (BVR) centres, particularly in the Matabeleland region, saying the low figures could result in the number of constituencies reduced, as some are merged.

Speaking at a public meeting on the BVR organised by the Women Institute of Leadership Development (Wild) at Small City Hall in Bulawayo on Saturday, opposition party representatives urged potential voters to take advantage of the recent extension of the registration exercise and register.

Alliance for People’s Agenda party deputy organising secretary, Ndabezinhle Mloyi said the majority of potential voters in Matabeleland North and South provinces were turned away for failing to produce the required documentation, due to inadequate voter education by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

“We are worried about the low numbers of people, who have registered to vote in Bulawayo [and] Matabeleland South and North. Voter registration is a process towards a bigger process of voting in a free and fair election,” he said.

Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said the low registration figures in Matabeleland provinces and Bulawayo meant that there is a likelihood of constituencies in the affected areas being reduced.

He said it was possible that Bulawayo may end up having only three constituencies when the delimitation process comes, because constituencies are determined by the number of registered voters. Bulawayo currently has nine constituencies.

MDC youth secretary-general, Discent Bajila said the low registration figures experienced in Matabeleland provinces were a cause for concern.

Zec recently announced that it had registered around 4,5 million, out of the targeted seven million potential voters.
Speaking at the same event, MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora said: “We want to take charge peacefully through free and fair elections and you can agree with me that what we achieved when we were in government is plenty. One of the achievements is this BVR, which is a migration from the Registrar-General voters’ roll to a clean voter’s roll, where your face and fingerprints are taken. This means there will be no dead people voting this time.”

He also disclosed that Zec had agreed to extend the BVR exercise beyond the festive season to allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora to register ahead of next year’s general elections.

“The diasporans are part of us, they are Zimbabweans they have a right to vote and they must be given a chance to register. The Constitution entails that every Zimbabwean has a right to vote,” he said.