Do not force people to register — Zec

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has warned political parties to stop forcing people to register as voters for the forthcoming harmonised elections.

During the abortive three-week mobile voter registration blitz, civic society groups claimed that President Robert Mugabe-led Zanu PF, was forcing members of the public to submit their names and national identification numbers to Zanu PF youths who were moving around in a door-to-door campaign.

In volatile high density suburbs such as Mbare and the town of Chitungwiza, for instance, Zanu PF youths have allegedly been forcing people to buy the party’s membership cards as well as provide voter registration slips for those who would have registered at the Registrar General’s office.

However, Zec yesterday told more than 20 political parties that excluded Zanu PF that such a practice is an infringement of human rights which may affect the holding of a free and fair election.

Zanu PF snubbed the consultative meeting that was graced by the two MDC formations in the unity government and several smaller parties that included, the Zimbabwe Freedom Party, the National Development Party and a new party Good of the People.

Bessie Nhandara, Zec’s commissioner responsible for voter education said the parties should let people make a choice of whether they want to participate in polls or not.

“Let us not force people to go and register as voters and political parties should not help people even with transport — that should be for the people to decide.

“Political parties should not ask for people’s ID numbers in order to have them registered. That is the responsibility of Zec.

“We now have our teams on the ground and they will be educating people on voter registration. We are warning parties to stop such practices,” she said.

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