Matabeleland demands more registration centres

BULAWAYO - Civic society organisations (CSOs) in Bulawayo are demanding an increase in the number of mobile voter registration centres in Matabeleland alleging that the Registrar’s Office is being used by Zanu PF to discourage voters in the region.

Matabeleland Civic Society Forum (MCSF) spokesperson, Dumisani Nkomo said Mashonaland was allocated more mobile registrations centres as a Zanu PF strategy to garner more votes.

“There are more mobile centres in three Mashonaland provinces than in Matabeleland because Zanu PF has calculated that the provinces have more support,” Nkomo said.

“However, places like Matabeleland North which has a wider geographical area, have less mobile centres which makes it difficult for people to go and register,” he added.

People in Matabeleland North are reportedly walking 30 to 40 kms to access some of the centres.

Dumisani Mpofu, a programs manager at Masakaneni non-governmental organisation said: “The Bulawayo vote is known historically that it will never go to Zanu PF. Tobaiwa Mudede is Zanu PF and it would hurt him to see Zanu PF lose so he will do anything possible to make sure they stay in power.”

The CSO’s say the current state of affairs is likely to culminate into low voter turnout in the region since most people are being denied their democratic right to vote.

“People are interested in participating in this process, but the big question is, what is there to benefit for the region?” Nkomo said, adding that people in Matabeleland would like this election to change their lives.

Matabeleland recorded the lowest voter turnout in the referendum mainly due to voter apathy.

Civic society accuses the RG’s office of lacking professionalism as there are inconsistencies in their discharge of duties.

“Mobile centres are operating differently and inconsistently .We should examine the RG’s office because if they had standards, they should have published the requirements in the press,” Mpofu said.

In Bulawayo mobile registration teams have been accused of opening the centres at around 9am and closing at 5pm instead of the prescribed, 7am to 7pm, depriving residents of at least four hours of service. - Nyasha Chingono

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