Second voter registration outreach prog starts on ‘good note’
The second phase of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s mobile biometric voter registration started on a ‘fairly good note’ at some centres in Bulawayo.
The first phase of the mobile voter registration process ran from February 1 to February 28 with 81,742 new voters registered.
The second phase will run from April 11 to April 30, 2022.
ZEC’s mobile voter registration exercises come ahead of a constituency delimitation exercise expected to start in late August while Zimbabweans will vote in key elections next year.
CITE visited some polling stations around Bulawayo Monday and some presiding officers said the turnout was encouraging considering this was the first day.
At Southwold shopping centre, the presiding officer Miriam Dick said the turnout ‘was good’.
By 2 pm, she said 18 people had been served since opening at around 7 am.
“People know about this exercise as there is a voter education team going around in this district. We had people coming in from their homes and others from the industry area. Most were coming in to check their names,” Dick said.
“So far, only two people were turned away as they did not have their national identity documents but were carrying their drivers’ licences. We are here at this centre until Thursday so hopefully, we serve more.”
At Nketa 7 shopping centre, the presiding officer, who declined to be named, said the registration blitz “started on good note.”
“People seem to know that this exercise has started and are coming forward. Luckily, no one was turned away,” she said.
At these mobile centres, ZEC officers were seen assisting residents, documenting their details and preparing them for the capturing of their biometrics.
In an interview with CITE, Nkosikhona Dibiti, spokesperson of EKhayaVote2023 a coalition of over 25 Civic Society Organisations operating in Matabeleland that is mobilising young people to register called, said their campaign was going full steam ahead to urge young people to register to vote.
“We partnered with the Electoral Resource Centre (ERC) to conduct a road show this past weekend. The whole idea of the roadshow was to sensitise and raise awareness to people among the Bulawayo community on the upcoming voter registration process that started today,” he said.
“These are some of the efforts we are doing to make sure people have information about registering to vote and know the requirements that are needed there. During the roadshow, we also answered basic questions that are generally asked and we distributed pamphlets of what is required for registration to take place.”
Dibiti, however, noted it was difficult to tell the outcomes or turnout of people who are registering to vote as this process was running concurrently with other processes such as the issuance of identity documents.
“Access to documentation is largely done in almost the same places as the voter registration but we are trying by all means to share information to people and circulating it on WhatsApp groups, telling people where voter registration is taking place,” said the campaign spokesperson.
“We are also sharing information that we have received from ZEC and other stakeholders while our coalition members are also doing the same spreading of information in order to assist first time voters.”
Unless a significant number of people turn out in their numbers during the current mobile voter registration blitz, the Matabeleland region, which has the least number of registered voters in the country is likely to lose some of its constituencies when the electoral management body conducts the delimitation of constituencies in August.