By Ishmael Kupfuwa – COTRAD Information
Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) calls upon all eligible voters – especially those who reached the voting age after the 2018 elections- to utilize the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) mobile voter registration blitz to register to vote.
The call was necessitated by the disappointing response of people registering to vote at various mobile registration centres around Masvingo Province.
The low turn-up is notably due to the lack of information about mobile voter registration centres, dates and perhaps lack of national identity cards especially to the age group reaching 18 years.
Many people especially those in rural areas without access to social media platforms are yet to access key information.
In respond to the low turn-up of voters observed during the first days of the blitz, COTRAD dispatched its members to mobilize potential voters through door -to- door and one on one engagements.
COTRAD also intensified its online mobilization strategies through the WhatsApp groups, Twitter handles, Facebook, online television shows, radio shows, bulk messages, circulation of voter education jingles and electronic fliers.
While the provision of physical interaction platforms is being done through district soccer and netball games, women voter education meetings, supply of voter education printed IEC material. The campaign serves to inform people about the mobile voter registration centres, dates and to explore voter registration requirements and procedures as stipulated by the Zimbabwe electoral laws.
COTRAD urges the electorate, particularly the youth to take the mobile voter registration process seriously since the registered numbers will inform the delimitation exercise.
Therefore, the low numbers of registered voters will affect allocation of constituencies in the province. Voter registration is continuing at 73 permanent district and provincial centres national wide, and the mobile voter registration blitz shall be conducted at 2 700 mobile registration centres. The blitz is set to run in two phases, the first exercise started on the 1st of February and will end on the 28th with the second phase commencing on 11th April ending on the 30th of the same month.
The voter education and information which is currently being provided by with ZEC is not adequate, ZEC should ensure the provision of adequate, accurate, gender sensitive and unbiased voter education as required in section 40B of the Electoral Act. COTRAD is accredited to assist ZEC in conducting voter education in terms of section 40B (3) of the Electoral Act. Therefore, COTRAD shall keep on working with ZEC to intensifying voter education in Masvingo province.