Biometric Voter Registration exercise begins
Harare, September 18, 2017 (New Ziana) – The national Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise commenced on Monday on a low note as few people made their way to register under the new system in Harare.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has established 63 district offices across the country’s 10 provinces for voter registration in preparation for the 2018 general elections.
According to ZEC, registration will start at district offices before the electoral body launches a national blitz in mid-October where it expects to register up to seven million voters.
According to a list published by ZEC showing the number of district offices in each of the country’s 10 provinces where registration will take place, Mashonaland East at nine, has the highest number followed by Mashonaland Central and Midlands which have eight respectively.
Matabeleland North and South, Masvingo, Mashonaland West and Manicaland each have seven offices, Harare has two while Bulawayo has one.
ZEC district elections officer, Taurai Gavi who is in charge of one of the two district registration offices in Harare told the media that registration began on time at 7 am.
By midmorning, he said, only 18 people had registered to vote, attributing the low turnout to people coming without relevant documents, among other things.
“We started registration this morning, by seven o’clock there was already a person waiting to be registered, we did not have any challenges, our registration centre is fully equipped and we are ready,” he said.
“Some are coming with relevant documents in so far as proof of residence is concerned but some are also coming hoping that ZEC will give them the affidavit for proof of residence then they will fill it, get it commissioned right there but what we are encouraging voters is you can get your affidavit, declare your residence to any commissioner of oath and then bring an already filled affidavit.”
Gavi said on average, they were taking about four minutes to register a person, and said they hoped to better this as the exercise went on.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, who had turned up to register said he was impressed with the new system.
“My impression is that the registration officers are very thorough, there is no loophole to find anywhere, it might be a bit slow but certainly slow but sure, so people must be patient,” he said.
He encouraged people to register early.
A proclamation by President Robert Mugabe said voter registration will run for four months from September 14 to January 15, 2018.
President Mugabe last Thursday became the first voter to be registered under the new system as he launched the registration exercise.
ZEC said all citizens above the age of 18 years old can register to vote and will require a national identification card or passport as well as proof of residence to successfully go through the registration process.