The slow pace at which the voter registration process is taking place will likely dampen the spirit of potential voters who are forced to queue for long hours.
CITE news crew visited various registration centres around the city and spoke to residents who expressed frustration at the slow pace of the process.
Martha Siyachimbo from Mpopoma said she went to the local registration centre on Thursday and was not assisted and she had to go back again on Friday.
“The process is very slow. I came here yesterday around 12 midday and I left around 4 pm before being served. I had things to do at home. Today I am back here again, I hope it will be better today,” she told CITE.
Another Mpopoma resident, who identified himself only as Guvheya and was seeking to transfer his polling station, said the slow pace would most likely discourage the youths.
“I was registered in Zvishavane but now I know that I will be here in Bulawayo when it’s time to vote, it’s best that I transfer. We are trying to get more people to register, especially the youth, so if they get her and find queues they will leave, they don’t have the patience to wait for these processes,” Guvheya said.
MP for Mpopoma Phelandaba Constituency Charles Moyo, who was monitoring the process, said he was disappointed with the way the process was being conducted.
“The turnout is good but the main challenge is the pace of service, we don’t know if the people are now tired or what. Tomorrow they will be going to Mabuthweni, so if they don’t pick up the pace, they may fail to serve everyone,” Moyo said.
“But the turnout of the youths has been very awesome. It is pleasing to see young people taking interest in electoral processes.”
Cllr Donaldson Mabuto said they managed to mobilise a number of youths but the downside was slow service.
“Yesterday we had about 160 youths whom we mobilized locally to come and register to vote. The downside though was that the service was very slow. The youths were here by 9 am but some left around 5 pm because of the slow process. That is very discouraging,” Cllr Mabuto said.
In the city centre, at the Bulawayo Large City Hall, the aspiring voters said they had sacrificed their time to go and register but the time they had taken there was too much.
“The service is rather slow. We have been here for about 20 minutes and there is no progress. People keep leaving saying they will come back. We were in town doing our business now we are here for the registration but at this pace, we may end up leaving before getting assistance,” said Sekai Moyo.
Some observers who declined to be identified noted that ZEC should consider extending hours beyond 5 pm especially in the city centre to cater for those who would be coming from work.
“We are from CCC and we are observing the progress. So far, we do not have many complaints but what we can say is we wish there could be more time. Some people knock off at 5 and by the time they get there, the centres would already be closing. There was also one machine serving people, and with its population, one machine wouldn’t have been enough,” they said.