Citizens must take BVR blitz seriously

HARARE - Zimbabweans should take advantage of the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) campaign blitz so that they register to vote in the 2018 general elections.

The BVR blitz, which is being conducted by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Election Resource Centre (ERC), Zimbabwe Election Support Network — in collaboration with Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec) — will last 72 days.

Those who have had problems acquiring birth certificates and national identity cards have an opportunity to get the documents for free within this period while citizenship can also be regularised.

During the blitz, Zec is coming to people’s doorsteps to register them while the civic organisations are observing the process.

The observers, who have been deployed in 63 districts, will bring with them educational electoral material prepared by Zec on how the registration exercise should be conducted.

ERC and ZimRights have also mobilised lawyers who have been deployed to most of the registration centres as Commissioners of Oath, providing their service for free.

Political parties and other unruly elements who might want to intimidate potential registrants will be on check so that the exercise is held peacefully.

Hopefully, after the expiry of the 72 days, most potential voters would have registered and the youth are encouraged to come out in their thousands because this election will shape their future.

On the other hand, political parties should persuade their members while the Church — which has an even wider membership across the country — has a duty to encourage their congregants to register to vote in next year’s elections.

The registration exercise should — hopefully — be held peacefully and according to the rules and professional guidance of Zec.

The police should protect those who are part of the blitz and registrants alike  because this is not a partisan programme but one meant for all eligible Zimbabweans who are 18 years and above to freely register.

Zec officials must listen to concerns raised by observers during this exercise and address them as this will only improve deliverance and speed up the process.

The observers are the ears on the ground for Zec; hence team work between participating civic organisations and Zec is of paramount importance.

It is the people’s vote that will eventually bring their desired choice but without them registering as voters and then actually voting, then that choice will never be exercised.

There are people who have been calling for change at every turn, but most of these vocal ones do not vote at all.

Civic organisations must be applauded for financing this campaign and hopefully Zimbabweans will respond favourably.

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