Residents in Ward 8, Mzilikazi, Bulawayo, have implored the Registrar- General’s Office to issue national identification cards (IDs) to enable first-time voters to register for the upcoming 2023 harmonised elections.
The registry offices have for the past two years issuing out identity documents at a snail’s pace citing Covid-19 lockdown regulations and operational challenges.
In June last year the department abandoned a mass IDs programme after crowds of undocumented young people thronged their offices to acquire documents.
Speaking during a community engagement nexus between service delivery and electoral processes hosted by Ekhaya Vote 2023, Farirai Musasa said a number of young people in Mzilikazi do not have IDs hence have failed to register to vote.
“Our children failed to write their Ordinary level and Advanced levels because they had no nation Identification documents. If we want to do voter registration for Bulawayo to have many registered voters, we should focus on our young children who do not have those documents,” said Musasa.
He said unless young people registered to vote, Bulawayo would forever complain of having fewer registered voters.
Former councilor for the area, Sheilla Musonda said Ekhaya vote 2021 should assist in voter registration.
“Ekhaya vote should assist us when it comes to voter registration, our children are not registered, they do not have national documents,” said Musonda.
She said elders would want to leave politics for the young people hence the need for them to have IDs and register to vote.
“Ekhaya vote 2023 should help us because we are old, we want to leave politics for the young people in 2023,” said Musonda.
She added that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Bulawayo are inaccessible to many young people that would want to register as voters.
“They should come down to ward levels and register our children,” she emphasized.
Thandekile Moyo added that the registry office was taking too long to register first-time voters.
“If children go to the registry office they are told to book an appointment hence taking even longer to access the documents,” said Moyo.
“The youths do not have that kind of patience to wait; the registry office should be opened and youths should be able to get their identification cards, that’s why the youths end up giving up on voting,” she said.