Source: Youths denounce Zec over proof of residence requirement – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 22, 2017
A CROSS section of Zimbabwean youths who attended a National Association of Youth Organisation (NAYO) dialogue on Thursday on the upcoming 2018 elections have castigated the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) demand for proof of residence as prerequisite to voter registration.
BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI
NAYO is conducting a series of dialogues across the country, dubbed the Leave No Youth Behind campaign, aimed at encouraging Zimbabwean youths who constitute more than 60% of the voting population to cast their vote in 2018.
Dzimbabwe Chimbga, panellists at the discussions and also programmes officer at the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the requirement was contravening the constitution and stifling youth’s right to vote as embedded in the universal suffrage.
“Section 67 of the constitution clearly stipulates the right of every Zimbabwean citizen to vote without any discrimination. The Electoral Act can require citizen to provide proof of residence, but this should be in a manner that does not infringe on section 67.
“The youth are the ones most likely to suffer in this instance because they do not own residential properties in their name and more so, how many can get a dollar to sort out the affidavit, which must be commissioned by a recognised notary.”
Also speaking during the same discussion was Tariro Senderayi from She Votes bemoaned the requirement saying women would be the most affected given the bias in property ownership that is premised on patriarchy in the society.
She also added that given the polarisation levels within the country, rural youths will struggle to acquire the proof of residence from local leaders if they are known to be supporters of opposition parties.
“Young people and women have no title to houses for obvious economic reasons and acquiring a proof of residence would depend on their rapport with their landlords.
“Section 23(4) says people from the rural areas must acquire proof of their residence from their local leaders, and this is somewhat difficult for those with contrasting political views from that of the leader and as such, getting the proof would only depend on the leader’s prerogative,” she said.
Some of the youths accused Zec of engineering mischievous ways to supress youth vote.
Zec on Thursday relaxed some conditions and allowed aliens to register as voters. Prodemocracy groups have claimed Zec has also promised to relax the proof of residence requirement.