'Heavy rains disrupt BVR exercise'

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) says heavy rains have disrupted the on-going biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise in some areas, with a total 2 259 908 citizens registered so far.

The Commission — which is winding up phase three of four of the BVR exercises — targets to register a total seven million voters under the exercise.

But it is racing against time to reach the target due to limited time, and says the heavy rains, hailstorms and whirlwinds have become a challenge.

The BVR blitz is running for 72 days with the third phase running from November 16 to December 1 before the fourth and last phase —December 4 to 19.

Zec said due to the bad weather, “registrants could not go to registration centres to register for example in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Matabeleland North and South”.

“When it is cloudy and raining in areas where there is no electricity, it is a challenge to charge kit batteries with solar energy, and this affects registration.

“Measures to counter this include transporting kits to areas with electricity and using hired vehicles to charge the batteries,” it said in an update on Saturday.

Turning back to the number of registrants, so far Zec noted that Bulawayo remained lethargic with only 82 124 citizens having registered to vote, a far cry from the 409 389 Zimstats 2018 projected voter population.

Harare leads the pack with 170 386 citizens having registered to vote but this again is a far cry from the 1 345 818 Zimstats 2018 projected voter population.

“(The) total voters registered to date is 2 259 908. This figure includes figures from the static registration centres for the period September 18 to October 10, 2017,” Zec said.

“These figures excludes returns or submissions from 368/2 697 centres on 11/11/17 at 1600 hrs due to network and communication challenges.

“Figures from these remote and inaccessible centres are coming at different intervals as and when they manage to get the network or travel to accessible areas. However as and when the figures come in, they become part of the cumulative total.”

At least 46 522 potential registrants were recorded as turned away for a variety of reasons which include production of wrong documents such as the driver’s licence, being under age, failure to produce proof of residence and presentation of defaced documents.

“The law stipulates age, citizenship and proof of residence as requirements for voter registration. Turned aways are persons not complying with these requirements including illegible or defaced documents,” Zec said.

“Some of the turned aways will find their way back once they get the relevant documentation e.g. proof of residence or ID. These issues are being tackled through voter education and publicity campaigns. The Electorate is urged to comply with voter registration requirements and prepare their documentation in advance.

“The registrants can register anywhere in the country hence provincial figures do not necessarily reflect the number of registered voters specific to a particular province.”

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