Makarau assures ‘aliens’ on registration

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ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has assured “aliens” they would not be turned away at registration centres after a chaotic mobile voter registration exercise resulted in thousands of potential voters failing to register.

Wongai Zhangazha

Bitter complaints were raised after so-called “aliens” were turned away during the mobile voter registration exercise despite cabinet assurances the process would be expedited to enable them to vote in crucial elections later this year.

In an interview with The Zimbabwe Independent last week, Makarau said the new constitution had made some “aliens” citizens of Zimbabwe.

Last week President Robert Mugabe signed the new draft constitution into law marking a major milestone towards imminent general elections.

Makarau said: “The law has now redefined who the Zimbabwean citizen is. Persons who had not yet been defined are now regarded as Zimbabwean citizens. Using the word ‘alien’ is now a misnomer. However, we still have a few foreign nationals who may not qualify to be voters.”

Zec has said the 30-day mandatory voter registration exercise is expected to start next week. The electoral body has been engaging different political parties, the media, members of non-governmental organisations and women’s coalitions on issues to do with the voters’ roll, accreditation, voter education and funding.

Makarau confirmed receiving a letter from the MDC-T demanding they craft a code of conduct for security forces before the elections to ensure they behaved in accordance with the constitution and laws governing their activities.

“Yes, the letter has just been received and is still to be looked at by the commissioners. I cannot give my personal opinion on it, but Zec will respond to the MDC-T,” she said.

The MDC-T also complained to Zec and the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) about the abrasive and meddlesome conduct of military commanders. They also copied the letter to Sadc facilitator in Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma.

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