The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has postponed the mobile biometric voter registration blitz which was set for December this year, a move that civil society organisations believe will lead to stagnating numbers of voter registrants and slow down the voter registration momentum.
In a statement, ZEC said the exercise which was scheduled for 6 December 2021 has been rescheduled to February 2022.
The electoral body however advised current Enumeration Area (EA) to Polling Area (PA) alignment and Alpha list updating exercise will continue as per schedule.
Explaining the postponement, ZEC spokesperson Commissioner Joyce Kazembe said it was due to delays by the registrar general to issue Identity Documents (IDs) to members of the public on time.
“It has been postponed until next February. The reason being that we want the Registrar General to go ahead of us and give people IDs because there are quite a lot of people without IDs. The feedback we are getting is that the RG’s office has not been able to do massive registrations as planned as they are awaiting resources and that process should be done before we can go all out to conduct our blitz,” said Comm Kazembe.
“We will be updating members of the public because we cannot afford to go now and then do the process again when more people get their IDs. For now we encourage people to go and get registered at our static stations while we work on that.”
She added that delimitation will follow sometime in August after ZimStat completes its process.
Nkosikhona Dibiti from EkhayaVote2023- a recently launched coalition of over 25 CSOs operating from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces said the postponement is likely to deter momentum that had gathered around voter registration.
“ZEC offices are far away from a majority of members of the public especially those in this region for example in Nkayi, the ZEC office is at the Nkayi centre but a youth from Gwelutshena its 58km away and it will cost them US$14 to go and register. Here in Bulawayo it costs US$2 and that is a lot of money hence it is difficult to mobilise people especially now that ZEC has postponed the blitz set for December,” said Dibiti.
The EkhayaVote2023 campaign seeks to mobilise citizens in the Matabeleland region to participate in electoral processes.
The Matabeleland region is at risk of losing a number of constituencies and wards due to fewer number of registered voters.
“We had already started creating awareness for first voters encouraging them to go all out and there has been less and less activity. We had even gone to the extent of incentivising the whole process especially for the youths , we were offering free tickets for shows and free hairdos just to get them to register,” added Dibiti.
Constituencies such as Matobo North, Insiza South, Bulilima West, Magwegwe and Gwanda South are likely to be adversely affected by the coming delimitation exercise if people in the region do not register to vote.
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