First Day Overview of Voter Registration in Masvingo Province

Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) have observed that voter registration process in all districts of Masvingo province has started today 18 September 2017. The registration centres opened at 08:00 am and closed at 16:00 pm. The Voter Registration centres have the required registration machines and registration officers. COTRAD Ballot Buddies in Masvingo province have witnessed that, few people turned up for the registration process due to lack of knowledge and community awareness about voter registration process.

COTRAD Ballot Buddies in Mwenezi district revealed that, few people showed up at Big Six Complex Rutenga Growth Point due to lack of information about the location of the registration centre as well as lack of adequate registration requirement. All the residents of Masvingo Urban Constituency ward 7 who go for the registration process at Masvingo District Administration offices were turned away. They were informed by the registration officer that their ward was mistakenly omitted in the registration system. The registration officer highlighted that the error rectifying process will take long.

COTRAD Ballot Buddies in Masvingo province have witnessed that many people were turned away from registering due to inadequate proof of residence. At Masvingo District registration centre the commissioner of oath was not present; hence people were forced to pay 50c to 1$ to legal practitioners and other commissioners of oath for the endorsement of their proof of resident and affidavits. Some potential voters went home as they could not afford to pay for the endorsements/commissioning of their proof of residents.

Many people who were at registration centre visited by COTRAD Ballot Buddies were complaining about the slowness of the registration process as it takes 20 to 30 minutes to register a single person. Potential voters from Masvingo central constituency were told that some of the wards and polling stations were missing and potential voters who wanted to register as voters were turned away. COTRAD call upon Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to provide comprehensive voter education to all eligible voters particularly in the rural areas, mining areas and resettlement areas as they continue to suffer from lack of information on voter registration and other national process. It is enshrined in the constitution that; the government must ensure all eligible citizens to register as voters and ensure that all the eligible voters have an opportunity to cast their vote peacefully in a free and fair manner.

Source: Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD)