THE voter registration process being carried out by the Registrar-General (RG)’s office has been described as unclear, raising fears that a shambolic voters’ roll could be used in the forthcomin
g parliamentary election.
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede could not be reached for comment this week as he was said to be sick. Deputy registrar-general Emily Hera said a voter registration exercise started at the beginning of this month across the country would be completed in two months.
There are reports that the RG’s office has been instructed to prepare the voters’ roll for the election, which President Robert Mugabe could consider bringing forward to this year. Mugabe has announced that the election will be held in March next year.
“Voter registration started on May 1 countrywide and should be completed at the end of next month,” said Hera. “However, I don’t know a lot about the issue of elections, the RG would be the right person to speak to.”
The Zimbabwe Independent this week visited Mashonaland Central provincial capital, Bindura, and confirmed that officials from the RG’s office were moving around townships, villages, and farms registering people to vote. It was established that Zanu PF officials were following the RG’s teams to sell party cards to those registered.
While registration is in full swing in rural areas, there is very little activity in urban areas where the electorate appears unaware of the exercise.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has alleged that the RG’s voter registration exercise is confined to known Zanu PF strongholds and is leaving out most urban constituencies. The MDC enjoys support in urban constituencies.
Officials from the RG’s office going around the country issuing birth certificates and IDs have allegedly cited lack of stationery for failure to register voters in urban areas.
“The voter registration has not been clear and we have raised this matter in parliament,” said MDC MP for Gweru, Renson Gasela, in a statement this week.
“For example, we have received reports and carried out a survey in the Midlands to discover that voter registration is not being done in urban constituencies. Officials from the RG’s office have said they don’t have stationery for voter registration.
“The same reports have also come from Matabeleland. But it has been discovered that in Mashonaland provinces the RG’s officials are moving from door to door and village to village registering voters.”
Hera said she had not received reports concerning shortage of stationery from any province.