BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has bemoaned low turnout during the ongoing mobile voter registration bltz which ends on Saturday as analysts called for the exercise to be extended.
“From the first week there was low voter turnout compared to the weekend of the first phase. But there was an increase in the second phase of the blitz due to the issuance of national identity documents,” Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana said.
Political analyst Effie Ncube urged Zec to “find out why people are not registering in large numbers”.
“There is absolutely no reason at all for Zec to close the outreach exercise at the end of this month. Instead, it must continue to extend and stay out there in the villages and schools and urge people to register to vote,” Ncube said.
Another analyst, Vivid Gwede blamed the low turnout on poor awareness campaigns.
“There is definitely need for the commission to have yet another more publicised blitz, as well as a more robust awareness exercise on its ongoing normal voter registration exercise, ahead of the elections next year,” Gwede said.
However, political analyst Methuseli Moyo said political parties and other stakeholders had a role to play in mobilising their constituents to register to vote.
“I think the issue is simply that turnout has been low, and Zec cannot be entirely blamed for this. Political parties are key stakeholders and must mobilise potential voters, which they have not done convincingly,” Moyo said.
Mangwana said eligible voters could still visit their offices to register to vote.
“The deadline for 30 April is only meant for the mobile registration blitz for the material that we advertised to people. But voter registration will not end there. Voter registration will continue at our offices,” he said.