By A Correspondent- More than 450 000 people have registered to vote during the final nationwide biometric voter registration exercise that ends today.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will now begin the process of removing duplicate registrants using its high-tech fingerprint identification system, before all genuine new voters are added to the voters’ roll.
The number of registered voters could rise to more than six million for the first time in the country’s history, once ZEC completes the deduplication exercise.
Ahead of the voter registration blitz, there were around 5,8 million people on the voters’ roll.
ZEC acting chief elections officer Ms Charity Ngandini said the final number of new registrations will be announced after removal of all duplicates.
“The commission recorded a cumulative total of 451 811 initial registrants across provinces as at March 21, 2023,” she said.
“A total of 191 738 transfers were also recorded during the initial 10 days of the mobile exercise.
“Please, note that voter registration statistics recorded in the field do not necessarily reflect the actual entries that are finally added to the voters’ roll.
“The commission will announce the final figure after running the fingerprint identification system to remove duplicates.”
Statistics obtained from ZEC show that Matabeleland North province has the highest number of new registrants at 93 275, while Bulawayo recorded the least number of new registrants (9 968).
In Harare province, 58 679 people registered as new voters, while Mashonaland West had 53 939 new registrants, with 48 096 others registering in Midlands province.
Mashonaland Central province had 46 036 new registrants, while 45 745 new voters were recorded in Masvingo province.
Manicaland recorded 43 741 new voters, with 38 016 registering in Mashonaland East, while Matabeleland South registered 14 316.
The registration blitz, which began on March 12, ran for two weeks.
Ms Ngandini said following conclusion of the voter registration exercise, the commission will undertake data cleaning processes, which will be followed by public inspection of the voters’ roll.
She said one of the main challenges faced by the commission during the exercise was the number of duplicate voters.
“The commission is worried about the number of people who continue to be turned away during this exercise for the same reasons, as previously reported, already registered, aliens or non-Zimbabwean citizens,” she added.
“However, it is noted that some of the initial registrants are duplicates and that some voters have transferred more than once within the same period.”
Last year, ZEC expressed concern over some non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations that were providing incentives to hundreds of people to register to vote, resulting in the people making multiple registrations for them to access the money.
The duplicate registrants were exposed after ZEC’s ultra-modern biometric registration system — which, among other things, enables fingerprint mapping — flagged those who had registered multiple times.
Zimbabwe will hold its harmonised elections later this year, with ZEC having tabled a $130 billion budget to conduct the polls.
Treasury is now expected to start disbursing the funds for the polls.-statemedia