Supervise voter registration process, Zec told

HARARE - Civil society groups have demanded close supervision of the Registrar General’s office by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) during the 30-day voter registration exercise provided for in the new constitution.

Addressing reporters in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Election Support Network board member Solomon Zwana, said civil society groups (CSOs) had observed that there was inadequate education and information, lack of professionalism as well as inconsistencies in procedures and requirements during the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise.

Zwana said there was need for the process to be re-started under the supervision of Zec, making sure that the legal instruments guiding the issue of aliens are well-publicised.

“Disheartened by the observations by various stakeholders such as Parliament, the Churches, Cabinet and Zec that the process was chaotic, slow and did not capture all people interested in registering as voters, the CSOs recommend an effective supervision of the Registrar General’s office by the Zec to safeguard the integrity of the process for which Zec is accountable to stakeholders,” said Zwana, speaking on behalf of other CSOs.

“As a precondition to the exercise, the public must be adequately informed of the process, the requirements and the modalities prior to the commencement of the process which must be decentralised to ward level,” said Zwana.

The 50 CSOs who endorsed the press statement observed the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise was characterised by lack of genuine decentralisation with registration centres not proportional to the number of intended beneficiaries.

Some centres failed to adhere to the stipulated opening and closing times, resulting in thousands of potential voters being disenfranchised.

The demands by the CSOs come in the wake of Zec admitting the chaotic nature of the just-ended process as well as growing consensus in government that Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede did a shoddy job and should be fired. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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