CSOs launch aggressive BVR campaign

HARARE - Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) have launched an aggressive campaign to have Zimbabweans register to vote in next year’s watershed elections.

This comes as there are growing concerns that millions of people may not participate in the eagerly-awaited elections due to difficulties in registering for the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise which has been hit by apathy.

National elections management body Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) which has admitted to glitches marring the process — said on Monday about 487 000 people had registered countrywide — a far cry from the targeted 7 million voters.

Yesterday CSOs led by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) deployed hundreds of personnel to Manicaland, Midlands, Matabeleland South and parts of Masvingo provinces in a bid to ramp up interest in the BVR.

“Ten branded trucks sourced by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and the Election Resource Centre (ERC) have already been deployed to different provinces supported by artists where they will move from one place to the other.

“At the end of the current blitz and as Zec enters its second blitz the voter mobilisation, education and observation mobile teams put together by the civil society groups will be redeployed,” ZimRights executive director, Okay Machisa, told the Daily News.

“We decided to invade the streets and provinces because that’s where the people are. We will leave no stone unturned as we try to encourage everyone to register to vote. We are going to deploy people at all trunk roots and other major roads distributing information on BVR,” he added.

Apart from the roadshows in the provinces, Machisa said they had intensified their voter education campaigns in the urban and rural areas by launching television and radio programmes, respectively.

Zec introduced the BVR for next year’s elections in a bid to ensure that the country holds free, credible and fair elections.

Zimbabwe has a history of disputed elections and losing parties have consistently accused President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF of using their incumbency to achieve favourable outcomes via electoral fraud.

The blitz by CSOs comes after Zec last week, as follow up to last month’s launch by Mugabe, opened the registration and voter education campaigns.

BVR process will last for 72 days and will be held in four phases with each kit spending 16 days at the established centre.

The first phase commenced last week and ends on the 25th of this month – paving way for the next chapter which opens on October 29 - running until November 13.

The third phase would be from November 16 to December 1 and the fourth and last phase commences on December 4 and ends on December 19.

Zec is targeting a mammoth 7 million voters in next year’s crucial elections but observer and watchdog groups have said this might not be possible because of difficulties being faced in the registration process.

“Proof of residence is required for voter registration under the Electoral Act (though not under the Constitution).  The Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations 2017 (SI 85/2017 give a list of documents that constitute proof of residence, and go on to say that in the absence of any of these documents applicants for registration must produce a residence affidavit in the form prescribed in the regulations.

“Many people do not seem to have any of the listed documents so they must produce a residence affidavit sworn before a commissioner of oaths.  This applies especially to rural villagers, urban poor and previously displaced people,” Legal and Parliamentary watchdog, Veritas said.

“This problem could be done away with if the regulations were amended to remove the requirement that in the absence of other documents residence must be proved by affidavit.

“All the regulations need do is to require applicants for registration to state where they live in the application form (officially called a ‘claim form’) that every applicant must complete.  A voter who falsifies his or her address in such a form could be charged under section 37(2) of the Electoral Act with making a false statement of fact in an application for registration (maximum punishment two years’ imprisonment).  Producing an affidavit sworn before a commissioner of oaths is not necessary,” added Veritas.

 

Comments (5)

An affidavit costs $5. So are we paying to vote ????? Why are our MPs not scraping that requirement. I think some of us want to manipulate the process by having all these bottlenecks. !!! ButwhyZimbabwe !!!

ButwhyZimbabwe - 18 October 2017

zanu yatohwinha mdc alliance beaten before yatanga Mwari pindirai

g40 - 18 October 2017

The worst election registration this nation has ever had . The election board can not even show which is a polling center by way of signs . i foresee confusion ahead and many citizens will be stopped from voting by zec . I foresee lot of rubbish coming into voter registers bcoz last minutes zec will rush everything and confusion will happen then zanu will then rig as usual, why deny someone registration bcoz he or she does not have proof of residence but his or her name is there in the old voters book and the victim has been voting since 1980 . lets work with old voters registers for verification reason .

Diibulaanyika - 18 October 2017

The requirements just push those who want to register away, this proof of residence thing aaah, these ZEC people dont want people to register to vote.

Nana - 19 October 2017

Do you think people will take time to pay for an affidavit in this current economic environment. i better buy bread for my kids. Too much requirements!!!!!

Ballista - 19 October 2017

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