Mudede quizzed over mobile voter registration

HARARE - Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede was yesterday grilled by Parliament over the issue of mobile voter registration and the registration of aliens.

Mudede appeared before the parliamentary portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs briefing the legislators on the mobile registration which started yesterday and ends next month on July 9.

Mudede who was accompanied by permanent secretary of Home Affairs, Melusi Matshiya was given a torrid time by MPs who wanted him to explain the new mobile voter exercise which kicked off yesterday.

The Registrar General’s office started a fresh 30-day mobile voter registration as provided for by the new Constitution as the country prepares to hold harmonised elections later this year.

He was at pains to explain why his staffers were failing to register many people who were coming to registration centres seeking to be registered.

“We worked out the registration programme together with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec). After realising that we will be getting enough funds, we decided to opt for district registration as opposed to the ward or constituency-based registration as it is costly,” said Mudede.

“We asked for money from Treasury and we received only $4 million, so we are still waiting for another $5 million to be released so that we can adequately carry out the exercise, but we shall try our best under the circumstances to complete it,” said Mudede.

Paul Madzore, chairperson of the committee asked him whether aliens who were denied the chance to register in the first exercise in May would be allowed this time around.

“We have no problems with aliens as some of the people whom we refer to as aliens were born here and attended schools here in areas like Mbare and Highfield. If they can come to the registration centres they can be registered so long they bring in required documents,” said Mudede.

“People should not expect this registration exercise to entitle them to get citizenship status when they are aliens. They have to follow all legal requirements for them to be registered. One cannot just wake up and come to the registration centre wanting to be registered without the proper documents,” said Mudede.

He also denied that his office removed many people from the voter’s roll including a Cabinet minister who had found out that his name was missing from the voter’s roll having voted in 2008 using the same roll.

“It is false that we were removing people from the voters’ roll during the exercise we carried out last month. My office has been blamed for slashing out a lot of people in the voter’s roll. The truth of the matter is that we were removing dead people from the voter’s roll and I am not aware of any Cabinet minister who had his name left out” said Mudede.

The committee will also next week jointly summon Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) boss Justice Rita Makarau together parliamentary committee on Peace and Security to give an update regarding preparing of the much anticipated election and for the electoral body’s readiness to conduct impending polls.

Madzore said he intends to embark on a countrywide tour next week, visiting the registration centres and monitoring the voter’s registration exercise which started yesterday.

Dates for elections are yet to be announced as President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are yet to agree on poll dates.

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