WITH the mandatory 30-day voter registration ending on Tuesday, thousands of potential voters are still battling to acquire identity documents to enable them to register, sparking fears that many will be disenfranchised through the deliberate tactics by the Registrar General (RG)’s Office.
Hazel Ndebele/Carlos Vieira
Since the beginning of the week, the RG’s Office was a hub of chaotic scenes as unregistered voters scrambled to get birth certificates and IDs after they were turned away from voter registration centres in their respective wards.
Thousands of aspiring voters besieged the RG’s Office as early as 4am but many were left frustrated as only a maximum of 500 people were being served per day. Others slept in queues to be among the 500 lucky ones.
“I am going to queue till tomorrow because I desperately need a birth certificate so that I can get an ID and register to vote,” said Tendai Shumba on Wednesday afternoon. “Luckily I stay in the Avenues so I will go and have my supper and come back.”
Observers say the drama surrounding the chaotic registration exercise was a deliberate ploy by Zanu PF appointees at the RG’s Office to frustrate the urban electorate largely viewed as MDC-T supporters.
In sharp contrast to the voter registration in urban centres, the process has been going on smoothly in Zanu PF’s rural strongholds.
Over 500 women organised by the Women’s Trust marched to the RG’s Office and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on Wednesday morning to hand in a petition on behalf of women frustrated by the voter registration process.
The petition claimed that out of every 10 women, only six managed to register as voters and demanded that there be separate queues for women to register, with preference being given to pregnant women, breast feeding mothers, the elderly and women with disabilities.