A TOTAL of 308 mobile registration centres have been established in Manicaland to facilitate the mobile biometric voter registration, while 53 mobile registration teams were deployed across the province for the issuance of identification documents as the country braces for the forthcoming harmonised elections.
The exercise is targeting those above 18 years of age who would want to register to vote, those who lost their identity documents and are eligible to register as voters as well as those who are 18 years and above and require both birth certificates and national identity documents.
The 10-day programme which started last Sunday will end on March 21.
The programme also coincided with a voter education programme that saw Zimbabwe Electoral Commission staffers hitting the ground running on Sunday as they embarked on the door-to-door programme.
In Mutare, they braved the wet weather to embark on the crucial project where they were explaining to would-be voters on the importance of registering as voters.
The mobile biometric voter registration teams are spending two days at a centre, while the Civil Registry Department teams that are issuing identification documents are spending between a day and five days on a centre, depending on the location.
In Manicaland, the document issuance exercise is targeting some of the most remote parts of the province, among them Ndima (Chimanimani), Mahenye; Tamandai, Mundanda and Chinyamukwakwa (Chipinge); Chinhenga, Chiwome and Mugoti (Makoni); Musapa, Chipendeke and Zvipiriri (Mutare); Muparutsa (Mutasa) as well as Fombe, Kazozo, Chapatarongo, Avilla and Tsatse (Nyanga).
At Ndima Secondary School, which is near the border with Mozambique, the Civil Registry Department team spent five days there and are expected to wind up the registration programme at the school today (Friday).
Civil Registry Department’s Manicaland provincial head, Ms Joyce Munamati said the programme started well in all centres across the province.
“Working in conjunction with ZEC teams, our officers hit the ground running in rolling out the identification documents issuance programme and BVR voter registration. From the reports we are getting, everything is progressing on very well.
“At first, there was low turn-out in some areas, especially on Monday due to the heavy rains that were being received across the province. Most people failed to come out to be served as the weather conditions were so bad.
“However, the turn-out is now improving. We now expect a high turn-out since the weather has now improved. We choose a centre to roll out the exercise in agreement with the community leadership of that particular area. Usually the chosen centre will be central to that community as we want to ensure that people walk short distances to access our services,” said Ms Munamati.
She added: “We want to urge everyone in the identified areas to take advantage of this exercise to acquire national identification documents and register as voters.
“To ensure that we give people ample time to access our services, we are sticking to the extended operating times. From Monday to Friday, we are operating from 7am to 7pm, while on Saturday and Sunday, we are operating from 7am to 5pm,” she said.
However, the BVR registration exercise runs from 7am to 5pm daily, including weekends.
Commenting on some of the technical glitches being experienced, ZEC chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba said: “The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would like to inform members of the public that some technical hitches have been encountered during the recently launched mobile voter registration exercise, resulting in delays at some registration centres.
“This is mainly a result of bad weather which is affecting the solar charging system of registration machines, especially where there is no grid electricity. The Commission is appealing to all stakeholders to be patient as the situation is expected to improve within the next few days.
“It should also be noted that heavy rains have affected mobility in some parts of Manicaland, contributing to further delays in the voter registration exercise at some centres in that province. Despite these challenges, prospective registrants are still encouraged to visit mobile voter registration centres near them on the scheduled dates.”
ZEC said for one to be registered as a voter, he or she should be in possession of a national identity card or valid Zimbabwean passport and proof of residence.
A driver’s licence is not accepted as proof of identity as it does not show one’s citizenship.
Only Zimbabweans citizens who are 18 years and above qualify to register as voters.
As for the registration of aliens as voters, ZEC said: “The category of persons whose national IDs are inscribed ‘ALIEN’, for them to be eligible to register, they should have long birth certificates that indicate that they were born in or outside Zimbabwe, but one of their parents are citizens of Zimbabwe or they were born in Zimbabwe and one or both of their parents are citizens of a SADC country and that they were ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe on the day of the publication of the Constitution on May 22, 2013.”
ZEC has budgeted $130 billion for this year’s harmonised elections.
According to ZEC’s 2023 harmonised elections roadmap, the electoral body will conduct an extensive post-delimitation awareness programme to explain the new electoral boundaries.
While Manicaland maintained 26 National Assembly constituencies, new constituencies like Chikanga, Dangamvura, and Mutema-Musikavanhu were created.
Chipinge West was affected by the delimitation exercise, resulting in the creation of the new Mutema-Musikavanhu constituency.
Some wards were moved into other National Assembly constituencies.