Kuda Bwititi Chief Reporter
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will this week up voter education, with officers moving door-to-door to acquaint potential voters with the new registration and voting system.
Source: Zec is coming to your door | The Sunday Mail Aug 20, 2017
At least 400 biometric voter registration kits will be delivered a week later, setting the stage for countrywide data capturing of potential voters from around October.
Zec is targeting a record seven million voters for the 2018 harmonised elections, and wants to complete registration before December 2017.
BVR and polling station-based voting are among the innovations the commission has introduced in keeping with international best practices in elections management.
Uppermost on the priority list is a credible voters’ roll.
Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told The Sunday Mail last week: “The publicity campaign has already started. We have started with radio and television programmes and stakeholder engagements. The intensive part of the campaign, comprising door-to-door voter education, accompanied by flyers and pamphlets, will commence just before the launch of the outreach exercise.
“Deployment of officers will take place in due course as we are still working on modalities. Our roadmap is still on course. We await delivery of the first batch of BVR kits by the supplier. In terms of the agreement, this first batch should be delivered on August 31 2017.
“Thereafter, we will commence the whole exercise, with the training of trainers and technicians who will maintain the kits. Thereafter, kit operators or voter registration officers will be trained.”
Justice Makarau said Zec was waiting to hear from Treasury on its US$274 million election budget.
“The approved budget for 2013 was in the sum of US$132 million. The current budget is more than that budget mainly due to Zec’s assumption of the voter registration mandate and introduction of BVR.
“In addition to procuring the BVR kits, we also need to upscale our district office infrastructure; our connectivity. Unlike in 2013, we have to conduct a fresh voter registration exercise and be able to print our own voters’ rolls.
“Zec encourages all political parties to ready their membership to have their identity documents and proof of residence so that they are not delayed or inconvenienced on registration days. Zec also encourages all political parties to mobilise their membership to register in large numbers.”
She added: “The Commission is still receiving and will study reports from observer missions to the (August 8) Kenya elections. The primary reports, however, indicate that BVR can work efficiently to register voters and identify voters on voting day. Zec will use biometric technology for registering voters only, and not for identifying voters on Election Day.
“There are a number of positive spin-offs that are associated with an exercise of this magnitude. Service providers of electoral materials, especially advertising and promotional materials, will be fairly busy during this period. Zec also procures quite a lot of hard equipment such as vehicles, tents and printing services during an election.
“Employment is also created for those in construction and civil works as we renovate and upgrade offices and other infrastructure, and improve on road accessibility to all polling stations.”
Figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency and United Nations indicate the country’s population has leapt from 13 061 239 in 2012 to 14-16 million since the last election.
About 5 874 115 people registered to vote in the 2013 plebiscite.
Of these, 3 480 047 cast ballots in the Presidential poll, while 3 377 276 participated in parliamentary elections.
The number of registered voters in 2008 was 5 934 768.