IN a desperate move to garner votes in the July 31 polls, aspiring Zanu PF MPs went on a door-to-door campaign collecting identity documents to register potential voters in their respective constituencies to beat the Tuesday voter registration deadline.
Report by Brian Chitemba
The move which was used mainly by Zanu PF candidates in urban areas such as Harare and Bulawayo, was seen as a ploy to mobilise voters based on fear of a battering in cities that are regarded as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s strongholds.
It emerged this week that the candidates went on a last-minute rush to lure supporters to register as voters while some resorted to importing potential voters from outside their constituencies.
“Candidates embarked on a door-to-door campaign enticing unregistered residents to give them photocopies of IDs and other documents so they could register us. The potential MPs were in a rush to make sure they maximise on the number of registered voters in their constituencies before the closure of the voters’ roll on Tuesday,” said Dorothy Moyo, a Harare resident.
Some of the aspiring legislators took to social networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp to invite their unregistered friends to surrender their identity documents which were taken to voter registration centres by the candidates.
One of the WhatsApp messages seen by the Zimbabwe Independent read: “Comrade, are you a registered voter? Please give me your documents so I can register you to vote in my constituency. I need every vote in my area because every vote counts.”
This came as aspiring urban voters had nightmares to register as the Registrar-General’s officers allegedly employed delaying tactics to deliberately frustrate the electorate. By the closure of the 30-day mandatory voter registration exercise on Tuesday, thousands of people struggled without success to get registered because the process was moving at a snail’s pace while long queues of prospective voters remained stagnant.
A survey this week showed at the RG’s office in Highfield, only 66 people out of several hundreds were registered from opening of the centre at 7am up to 2pm, implying that only 10 people were being registered per hour, leaving thousands disenfranchised.