HARARE – Civic society groups say they launched mobile national voter registration mobilisation and education campaign to augment the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s voter education exercise which is not sexy enough.
This comes as the electoral management body which has targeted seven million voters had as of Thursday, biometrically registered 814 181 citizens with 19 697 being turned away for turning up without requisite documents.
The turned away citizens had defaced identity cards, photocopied Identity cards, producing drivers’ licences and lack of proof of residence all pointing to a general lack of voter education.
“It has become necessary for us to intervene in terms of mobilising citizens for voter registrations especially looking at the numbers that have been said to have been registered,” said Election Resources Centre’s Executive Director, Tawanda Chimhini.
As of Thursday, Bulawayo had the lowest registered citizens with 22 971, Matabeleland North 31 565, Matabeleland South 31 781, Harare 99,240, Midlands 114 862, Mashonaland East 128 174 and Manicaland 127 936 and Masvingo 104 429.
“The numbers particularly in the urban centres are really low and we are engaging communities to get to the bottom of it. Part of the problem is limited voter education. There is no excitement, energy or passion. The voter registration exercise is very passive and we would like to see more active voter registration so that citizens don’t just participate as sheep being shepherded but in a manner that allows citizens to question the process critically and hold institutions accountable.”
The mobile roadshows form part of the broader joint ERC and ZimRights initiative to raise interest in the current biometric voter registration (BVR) process by Zec and encourage citizens to vote in the 2018 harmonised elections.
The ongoing civil society roadshows which started on Monday with the deployment of 10 huge branded trucks and mobile roadshow teams to the different provinces are being graced by artiste and supporting acts.
The first part of the roadshows is on-going during the first phase of the BVR blitz and cover areas being visited by the Zec teams where the electoral body has put voter registration centres.
The initiative will also educate potential eligible registrants on key elements of voter registration as the civic groups complement work already being done by Zec’s voter education teams.