BVR Blitz: Bulawayo and Lupane Observations

The Mobile Biometric Voter Registration Blitz Exercise that was rolled out by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on the 1st of February is set to draw to the end of phase one on Monday 28 February. The Blitz has been ongoing so that communities can be able to register to vote at locations nearest to them as the centralised District and Provincial Offices were beyond the reach of many.

By Thembelihle Mhlanga

Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) among several other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) carried out efforts that were aimed at raising awareness to communities about the ongoing Blitz.

The first weeks of the Blitz were coupled by low turn out of registrants at registration centres. Citizens who spoke to Infocus News cited having minimal knowledge of the Blitz.

Despite the efforts that were initiated by CBOs, some communities had factors that were obstacles to their ability to register to vote. Communities cited that lack of National Identity cards made it impossible for them to register to vote.

in Lupane, voter registration among citizens remained low. In a recent BVR Blitz Statistics per Province, as at 22 February 2022 Matabeleland North recorded 1,014 male registrants were as 1,077 were female registrants which summed up to 2,244 while transfers of male registrants was at 552 while females were at 541, which summed up to 1,093.

First time voters, particularly those without National Identity cards felt the system had failed them at a time when they had to exercise their democratic right to register to vote.

Although registration centres had been decentraslied, there were some who still were disturbed by the distance of these registration centres. Some found themselves boarding to these registration centres which had a cost implication on them as paying for transport fares was never anticipated when the Blitz was rolled out in Lupane.

As it is the rainy season, women highlighted that the BVR Blitz interrupted with their ability to carry out activities in the field. According to women interviewed, the timing for rolling out the BVR Blitz created a conflict as they had to choose between leaving their fields unattended and mobilising each other to register to vote.

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