Source: CSO petitions Zec over tough registration conditions – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 11, 2017
CIVIC group, #ThisConstitution, has petitioned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) demanding a review of the voter registration requirements, arguing that the new conditions would disenfranchise thousands of potential voters ahead of the upcoming general elections.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
The organisation also raised concern over Zec’s refusal to allow prisoners, Zimbabweans in the diaspora and those regarded as aliens from voting.
#ThisConstitution national spokesperson, Alfred Dzirutwe in a petition dated July 10 and addressed to Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau, argued the requirements were unconstitutional.
“In our view, this habit of illegally disenfranchising citizens from voting seems to have taken root in your commission’s ways of doing things,” he said.
“Zec, which you chair, appears to us as building towards a grand plan to disenfranchise eligible citizens from registering to vote especially those that will turn 18 years old after the two week BVR [biometric voter registration] exercise.
Zec recently announced a raft of requirements, among them proof of residence for potential voters, but the move has been widely viewed as designed to spite urban opposition activists, most of whom are lodgers.
The electoral body also courted the ire of the opposition parties after releasing a list of voter registration centres, which saw Bulawayo and Harare, perceived strongholds of the opposition, getting fewer centres compared to rural areas.
The civic group threatened to take legal action if Zec failed to address its concerns by July 20.
“Our concerns further stem from the fact that your commission has not made any meaningful statement with regards to how it plans to ensure that those three classes of citizens are not disenfranchised come harmonised elections of 2018, which silence has already triggered alarm on this campaign.
“Zec, which you chair, has, therefore, blatantly disregarded the dictates of the Constitution of Zimbabwe by illegally disenfranchising Zimbabweans in the diaspora, prisoners and former aliens of their right to vote.”