'Take advantage of voter registration'

HARARE - Zimbabweans should fight for their democratic voting right by registering as voters in the forthcoming watershed election.

Education minister and Senator, David Coltart told citizens to take advantage of the second voter registration and inspection exercise which commences today nationwide.
“The intensive national exercise of voter registration and inspection of the voters roll starts tomorrow. I urge everyone to use this opportunity at the very least to check if they are on the voters roll and also to get registered if they have not done so before.

“Now is not the time to be apathetic. If we   are apathetic then those opposed to democratic  reform and the positive transformation of our nation could win this election by default. So please from tomorrow ACT and encourage all those around you to ACT,” posted the minister on Facebook.

Because of “prohibitive” registration requirements, many aspiring first time voters were turned away.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is in an uneasy power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe, also had a first-hand experience of the hassles first-time voters are faced with when he tried to register his 18-year-old twins.

Civil society also slammed the process that has seen thousands of potential voters being turned away.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and civic society concurred that the first mobile voter registration exercise was chaotic forcing Cabinet to proclaim another exercise.

According to the Constitutional Court ruling, Zimbabwe is set to hold elections by July 31 this year but the two MDC formations and other smaller parties are contesting the judgment citing

Contrary to the only two registration teams per district during the first exercise, four teams have been assigned to ensure that every ward country-wide is covered during the exercise, the registrar general Tobaiwa Mudede said in the media.

The exercise is expected to end on July 9.

Centres are supposed to open from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday while during weekends they will close two hours earlier.

But during the first exercise, on several occasions teams retired before appointed closing times.

Treasury is said to have poured $25 million for the exercise which will pave way for the holding of harmonised elections as the inclusive government’s life-span draws to a close on the 29th of this month. - Wendy Muperi

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