1.5 million so far registered to vote
Harare – Over 1.5 million people out of a potential 7.2 million have so far registered to vote in harmonised elections next year, latest statistics from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) show.
At the same time, 35 031 people have been turned away for various reasons which include lack of required documents, being under age, attempting to use defaced documents while some are not citizens.
ZEC has, however, said the number of those turned away does not capture those who would have managed to regularise their documents and later managed to register.
The second phase of the biometric voter registration (BVR) programme blitz opened on October 29 and ends on November 13 this year.
The voter registration is being conducted under four phases that specifically target different locations across the country and is expected to close next year.
All Zimbabweans over the age of 18 years, including those who have voted in previous elections, are required to register afresh under the BVR system which is being used for the first time in the country.
According to the statistics, Mashonaland East Province, at 27.6 percent, had the highest percentage of registered voters.
Masvingo comes second at 26.6 percent, Mashonaland Central at 26.3 percent, Midlands 24.3 percent while Bulawayo comes last at 13.8 percent.
“The registrant can register anywhere in the country hence provincial figures do not necessarily reflect the number of registered voters specific to a particular province,” ZEC said.
The electoral body said it was still battling to address the issue of people being turned away for lacking proper documents through its voter education and publicity campaigns.
The proof of residence requirement remains a major bone of contention.
The Election Resource Centre (ERC) Zimbabwe, a local non-governmental organisation, has since set up a desk to assist those turned away from registration to regularize their papers.
“Most importantly, the ERC calls upon ZEC to facilitate “ease of registration” for citizens of Zimbabwe, formerly deemed “aliens” who could have failed to regularize citizenship due to varying
constraints,” the ERC said.
“ZEC`s acceptance of former “aliens” to register must be premised on the Constitution of Zimbabwe which already recognizes them as citizens.”- New Ziana.