Hwange: Lack of information to blame for low voter registration
There was a low turnout of people at the few mobile registration sites in Hwange district as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) voter registration blitz entered its third day.
A snap survey conducted by CITE revealed that there was a low turnout at the first mobile registration centre in Mbizha ward with many locals expressing ignorance on the programme including urbanites.
ZEC has established 2 713 mobile voter registration centres countrywide with the first phase set to run until month-end while the second phase will run from April 10 to April 30.
The Matabeleland region is in danger of losing some of its constituency following reports that there was a low number of registered voters.
Various organizations under the banner Ekhaya vote 2023 recently embarked on awareness campaigns to bolster the number of first-time voters.
According to ZEC, the exercise is meant to ensure accessibility to its services ahead of the 2023 harmonized elections.
The voter registration exercise will determine the number of constituencies each province will have when the delimitation is conducted in August.
One resident, Sihle Ndlovu from Mbizha village said lack of information was responsible for the low turnout.
“Though information is circulating on social media like Whatsapp but its those who don’t have access to it that have no information on the blitz. Besides mobile data is expensive making it difficult to be online all the time. There’s need to have this information in the public domain through use of poster, billboards and engaging local authorities to ensure information is accessible.”
A villager from Milonga in Mbizha ward where the blitz started said most villagers were not aware of the exercise as not much publicity was done.
“ZEC needs to work with village heads and councillors to mobilize villagers to register to vote as a way of bridging the information gap that currently exists with certain government programs, particularly elections. Working with community structures such as traditional leaders will go a long way in ensuring that everyone is aware of the program,” said Jonasi Ncube.
Another villager from Jambezi ward said lack of national identification was affecting prospective voters.
“This side there are many people especially youths who are eligible voters but many don’t have IDs mostly due to restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. One has to sleep in a queue at the registry offices to get access to national documents as they are attending to a limited number per day. I think there was supposed to be a blitz focusing on issuing national documents before this exercise.”
After spending two days at Milonga primary school, Mbizha ward 6 the mobile teams will proceed to Neluswi primary school in Jambezi ward 7 under Hwange East constituency for the next 3 days.