ZPP welcomes new voters’ roll but . . .

The Zimbabwe Peace Project welcomes the launch and roll out of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise as it is expected to deliver a new voters roll which will ensure the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducts elections efficiently, freely, fairly and in accordance with the law.

Section 67 of the Constitution says every Zimbabwean has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any elective public office established in terms of the Constitution or any other law. Under principles of the electoral system, the state must take all appropriate measures to ensure that all eligible citizens are registered as voters.

The Constitution requires the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to ensure that whatever voting method is used, it is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure and transparent and is able to eliminate electoral violence and other electoral malpractices.

In pursuit of the ideals demanded by the Constitution, ZEC are in the process of implementing the BVR. With this in mind and the cases of intimidation that have been perpetrated in some communities, the ZPP implores ZEC to allay fears some citizens have about BVR. In some communities citizens have been told the collection of biometric information is meant to track choices made by voters on election day.

In order to create a conducive environment for elections, ZEC is urged to urgently issue a statement to explain fully the BVR so as to reduce citizens’ anxieties related to the process. The ZPP also urges ZEC to pronounce how and who they are targeting for recruitment for the roll out of the voter registration blitz earmarked for October to ensure transparency of the process.

Some citizens who have called ZPP report unscrupulous individuals who are swindling cash from desperate citizens for provision of birth records necessary to get birth certificates and to get letters confirming residency to facilitate registration as voters. Since the process officially started, ZPP has recorded at least six such cases of violations around the voter registration exercise.

In past elections the voters’ roll has been a source of conflict which is why the compilation of a new voters’ register is a welcome development. The slow penetration of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) particularly in rural areas has bred myths and fears over the use of ICTs and now with biometric information being collected ZEC is urged to educate citizens about the system.

If you are concerned about acts of violence in your community, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 Toll Free: 080 80199

Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project