Voter registration winds down amid frustration

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HARARE – Mobile voter registration wound up on Tuesday, leaving thousands of unregistered Zimbabweans. 

Thousands of people overwhelmed registration offices. At Market Square and Makombe Building in Harare, many expressed  frustration at failing to register to vote.

At most centres, they continued limiting the number of people who could register.

In Masvingo, our staff writer Godfrey Mtimba reports that thousands were turned away while others were frustrated and gave up.

There were long winding queues at Masvingo District Administration offices and the General hospital where registration was underway.

Voters said officials at the Registrar General’s office were slow and inefficient, claiming it was a deliberate ploy to frustrate youths.

Arnold Batirai, Elections Resource Centre Masvingo provincial coordinator, said thousands of young people’s right to vote in the coming polls was violated by deliberate efforts by staff at the registration centres.

“The registration exercise has just come to the end when hundreds of thousands of youths failed to register,” he said. “There were deliberate efforts to do this by the staff such as, being very slow, leading the wannabe first-time voters to spend days in queues until they were frustrated and  gave up. Their rights to vote have been violated,” said Batirai.

Zivanai Muzorodzi, spokesperson for Community Tolerance and Reconciliation Development (Cotrad), said the mobile registration exercise was not done properly as in some rural areas the people did not even know that there was an exercise like that underway in their communities.

“Some political parties in the rural areas monopolised the exercise and registered their supporters while turning away those suspected to be from their rivals,” said the spokesperson.

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