HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday met the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede as preparations for elections gather momentum.
Tsvangirai said government is committed to ensuring that every Zimbabwean will take part in the voter registration blitz that will culminate in the holding of elections that should be held before the end of July in accordance with a Constitutional Court ruling that was made last week.
“The premier wanted to get an update on the state of preparedness of Zec and the registrar general’s office to ensure that all eligible voters are registered. There is however, no date yet as to when the exercise will start but the teams for a one-week voter education that precedes the voter registration are already on the ground.
“There is need to ensure also that the two-voter educators per ward that have been seconded will sufficiently cover all the ground to avoid a situation where some people are disenfranchised as was observed during last month’s voter registration trial run,” said Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka while addressing journalists in Harare on Wednesday.
Drawing lessons from the abortive three week voters’ registration blitz Mudede, who has been blasted by MDC formations in the unity government, yesterday said the registrar’s office is ready to roll.
Mudede however, refused to respond to concerns that the voters’ roll is in a shambles saying he prefers a one-on-one interview.
“We are compiling the report on our deployment plans to present to Zec and by tomorrow we should be through. Otherwise we are ready and when we are on the ground. You know we do not play,” said Mudede.
On their part Zec invited Zimbabweans to come forward with evidence of citizen disenfranchisement so that the “dirty” voters’ roll can be cleaned.
“We would like to call upon anyone with evidence or cases of people who have been denied voter registration so we can make efforts to clean up the roll if it is in a shambles like you are alleging,” said Makarau.
Last month’s three-week voter registration blitz was roundly criticised by political parties and human rights groups who described it as secretive and not reaching out to all citizens.
The forthcoming voter registration exercise provided for in the country’s recently gazetted new constitution is expected to see the registration of hitherto disenfranchised aliens who have not voted since the turn of the millennium after the then Zanu PF government became hostile to them. – Mugove Tafirenyika