THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has listed nearly 5 000 centres where citizens who are eligible to vote can visit to register during the mobile biometric voter registration which begins on Sunday ahead of this year’s harmonised elections with Bulawayo having 71 centres.
The mobile voter registration exercise ends on March 21. A total of 4 474 have been identified for the programme.
ZEC yesterday released a schedule detailing where its team will be deployed during the programme.
At least 5,8 million citizens have registered to vote and ZEC will be conducting the last round of mobile voter registration before the elections.
President Mnangagwa recently announced that he will soon proclaim the election date following last month’s gazetting of the new delimitation report.
In a statement, ZEC acting chief elections officer Mrs Jane Chigidji said the new mobile registration centres also identify the renamed constituencies.
“It is hereby notified for general information that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will be carrying out a mobile Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise from 12 March to 21 March 2023 in preparation for the Harmonised Elections,” she said
Mrs Chigidji said the registration programme will run from 7am to 5pm during that period.
She said the public should present a national identity card (metal, plastic or waiting pass with the holder’s picture when going to register.
A valid Zimbabwean passport can also be presented as an alternative to ID cards.
Mrs Chigidji said proof of residence is another requirement that is needed when individuals visit registration centres.
“Only Zimbabwean citizens who are 18 years and above qualify to register. Please note that the category of persons whose national IDs are inscribed ‘ALIEN’ eligible to register should have long birth certificates indicating they were born in or outside Zimbabwe,” she said.
“But, the birth certificates should indicate that one of their parents are citizens of Zimbabwe or they were born in Zimbabwe, and one or both of their parents are citizens of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) country, and that they were ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe on the day of the publication of the Constitution on 22 May 2013.”
Political parties and civil society organisations urged members of the public to register to vote.
Zanu-PF Matabeleland South vice chairman Cde Albert Nguluvhe said the party will take advantage of the mobile voter registration exercise to mobilise the public to register to vote.
He said the elections give citizens an opportunity to elect their leaders and exercise democratic rights.
“Elections are meant to allow people to elect those who are going to represent them. You need to have a representative otherwise who will represent your wishes. If you don’t select them yourself, who do you think will,” he said.
Cde Nguluvhe said individuals who do not participate in electoral processes are fond of complaining yet they can get their views heard through voting.
“You want to blame someone because they have elected someone, why can’t you elect your leaders. We fought for democracy so that people can express their wishes,” he said.
“MPs are servants of the people, they are sent by the people to go and represent them and they must come back to the people and give them feedback. So, people should participate in electoral processes and it starts with registering to vote.”
Cde Nguluvhe said there might be a need for ZEC to work closely with the Civil Registry Department so that members of the public can obtain national documents which are a precursor before they register to vote.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Witness Dube said citizens’ participation in electoral processes is critical as it allows them to determine their political destiny.
“We want to encourage the general populace to register to vote as there is much to gain through voting. Those who are eligible should go and vote so that they can decide the policy direction that is adopted by the country and choose their leaders,” he said.
“By participating in the electoral process, they will be exercising their electoral processes.”
Mr Dube said MDC-T will soon embark on a voter registration campaign to encourage party members to register to vote.
He noted that despite ZEC conducting several mobile voter registration blitz, the figures of registered voters have not significantly improved from the 2018 Harmonised Elections.
Civil society organisations under the banner Ekhaya Vote have welcomed the Zec voter registration blitz
Ekhaya Vote spokesperson Mr Nkosikhona Dibiti said Zec provincial and district offices are located several kilometre away from communities resulting in people being hesitant to register.“Prior to the announcement of the mobile voter registration blitz we were now even shuttling people to ZEC offices so that they can register to vote. We, therefore, welcome the mobile voter registration exercise,” he said.
“In our conversation with ZEC, we encouraged it to use this process to even educate the public about the recent gazette delimitation exercise which has led to new boundaries and new constituencies.”
Mr Dibiti said they will closely work with ZEC in raising awareness about the exercise