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Zec records low voter registration





AS the first phase of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise reaches midway, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has so far registered only 675 762 voters, which is 9,7 percent of the targeted 7 million voters.

The first phase began on October 10 and will run until October 26.

Latest statistics from the commission shows that as at October 17, 2017, Mashonaland East had registered the most voters at 111 881, followed by Manicaland 109 607, Midlands 92 183 and Masvingo 84 642.

In the period, ZEC officials in Mashonaland Central had captured 82 493, Harare 80 192, Mashonaland West 44 341, Matabeleland South 25 841, Matabeleland North 25 791 and Bulawayo 18 216.

Incidentally, Harare - which has a relatively low figure of voters that have been processed so far and is ranked sixth out of the 10 provinces in terms of current registrations - has the highest number of people expected to register at 1,3 million.

A total 15 973 people were turned away during the September 18 to October 9 period.

It is believed that most prospective voters are being turned away for defaced national identification particulars, no IDs and failure to produce proof of residence, among other reasons.

In Masvingo, for example, some Tokwe Mukosi prospective registrants had no IDs, while others did not have proof of residence.

In Manicaland, some people are being turned away either for being aliens or not having their IDs.

In Mashonaland Central, a large number was turned away for being non-citizen residents.

ZEC, however, noted that there were communication hitches in getting updates from some "remote and inaccessible centres", which, to some extent, could have affected the tallying of the overall figures. "The figures show that there are no returns or submission from the 431 out of the 2 697 centres on October 17, at 4 PM due to network and communication challenges. Figures from these remote and inaccessible centres are coming at different intervals as and when they manage to get the network or travel to accessible areas.

"Projected voter population figures are for 2018 and include aliens, foreigners and persons without identification particulars as well as people turning 18 in 2018. Under Zimbabwean law, voter registration is not compulsory," said ZEC.

But the figures registered so far represent 20 percent or a fifth of 3,4 million voters for the 2013 harmonised elections, which President Mugabe won by 61 percent, or 2,1 million votes.

Zanu-PF Harare political commissar Mr Shadreck Mashayamombe said that the challenge was not so much in the numbers turning up to register, but the time that was being taken by ZEC to process the registration.

"We have seen people queuing very early but ZEC officials only start to serve them well after 800 am. So you will find that at the end of the day they will serve fewer people than expected," said Mashayamombe.

The issue of polling stations sited in wrong wards and constituencies, he said, was also causing delays.

According to MDC-T secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora, ZEC's insistence on proof of residence and a commissioned affidavit was a major put-off for prospective registrants.

"There are very few commissioners of oath, who are also charging between 50c and $1 to commission an affidavit, while in rural areas the village heads are charging between 25c and $1. We know that our people do not have this money and will obviously opt to ignore the whole process, resulting in very few people successfully registering."

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Zec records low voter registration
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