BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA/PRIVILEGE GUMBODETE
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday revealed that new voter registrants, who were given voter registration slips after registering to vote this year would not be automatically added onto the voters’ roll.
This adds to the confusion and feeds into critics’ claims that Zec was on a mission to deny first-time voters an opportunity to vote by manipulating the voter registration exercise.
Zec has been under pressure to clear the air on the ongoing voter registration conundrum after it recently issued two different figures for first-time registrants captured on its database
Zec first disclosed that it only registered 2 000 first-time voters last year, but later revised the figure to 2 971. But opposition parties and civic groups said the numbers were understated to disenfranchise potential first-time voters.
A civic organisation named Project Vote 263 recently claimed that it had facilitated registration of 9 635 first-time voters throughout the country, but was shocked by Zec’s low figures of first-time voters.
The electoral management body later apologised for providing few registration centres.
But Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba yesterday dropped another bombshell when she told journalists in Victoria Falls that being given a registration slip — proof showing that one has registered — did not necessarily mean one would be automatically added to the voters’ roll and eligible to vote.
“Registering to vote does not mean as soon as you are handed a voter registration slip to show you have registered to vote that does not mean automatically your name has been added onto the voters’ roll,” Chigumba said.
“There is another process which happens after you register to vote which is a process whereby the documents that you have submitted to be registered to vote are verified by our system.
“We have two systems of verification. Firstly, we verify your national identity if it is genuine. The next thing is we verify your fingerprints which we run through a system called automated fingerprint verification system.”
Chigumba said Zec would hold a voter registration blitz in April for purposes of ‘sanitising the voters’ roll which would then be used in the delimitation process.
“The reason we have a voter blitz in two phases, one in February and one in April is that after April we then clear the voters’ roll for purposes of delimitation because we anticipate that the delimitation process will be started after August of 2022 which is when the final census report will be tabled before Parliament.
“We do voter registration and start cleaning the data in order to determine who should be on the voters’ roll and who does not have authentic documents,” she said.
“April voter registration blitz is the final blitz which we will use to have registered voters who will inform the delimitation process.”