By A Correspondent- Civic Society Organisations (CSOs), political parties and political analysts have urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to extend the mobile voter registration beyond 30 April 2022 to enable more people to register as voters.
The mobile voter registration was being conducted at the same time as the Registrar General’s (RGs) mobile registration exercise which was issuing national identity documents (IDs) and birth certificates.
In an interview with NewsDay, Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) Bulawayo spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said the twenty days for the voter registration blitz was not enough.
Ibhetshu likazulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said the mobile voter registration exercise should be extended as few people are getting national identification cards. Said Fuzwayo:
The voter blitz must be extended. They must make sure people get documentation before those doing voter registration and the number of people getting identity documents in a day is far too little which shows that the government was not ready logistically.
A political analyst, Mkhululi Tshuma, said thousands of youths are yet to get IDs, therefore, the voter registration blitz should be extended to cater for them. Said Tshuma:
It’s wrong for voter registration to be closed. The first mobile registration closed when very few people had registered mainly due to the fact that many people had no identity documents.
On the eve of the second mobile registration, the registry office started issuing IDs which was commendable.
There are still challenges in the process as thousands of people, most of them youths, are yet to acquire national IDs.
There is no one denying the fact that the second mobile registration window attracted more registrants than the first.
But this still falls short of the mark as there still remain thousands more who are still unregistered.
All you need to do is follow the queues that are still forming in the mobile registration being done by the registry office.
These are all potential voters that must not be excluded as far as voter registration is concerned.
The allocated time wasn’t enough especially seeing that there have been many logistical challenges posed especially by lack of ID documents.
We can’t talk of the time allocated without noting logistical challenges that have severely affected the process.
Former MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe’s spokesperson, Ntando Ndlovu said ZEC should extend the exercise for maximum benefits. Said Ndlovu:
There is no doubt whatsoever that the exercise must be extended because the teams were not enough and therefore unable to cover all the wards.
In some cases, there was little information on mobile registration centres. What is needed now are permanent registration centres in each and every ward.
We have sampled various areas in Bulawayo and the two rural Matabeleland provinces; it’s clear that most unregistered voters failed to take advantage of the current exercise.
This was mainly due to a lack of identity documents and the unavailability of information on mobile registration centres.
The allocated time was not enough; there’s a need to establish permanent registration centres in each and every ward.
ZEC and other non-state actors must intensify voter education in all the villages and towns.
Meanwhile, ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana said that the mobile voter registration exercise ends today, 30 April 2022.
In a statement released on Saturday, 30 April 2022, Silaigwana said members of the public can still register as voters at ZEC’s district and provincial offices. =Newsday/CITE