Statement on the commencement of the Biometric Voter Registration blitz

Source: 10 October 2017Elections, Human Rights

Heal Zimbabwe welcomes the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that has commenced today 10 October 2017 across the country. The blitz is a follow up to the launch of the BVR by President Mugabe on the 18th of September 2017.

The organisation calls upon all Zimbabweans 18 years and above to turn up for this essential constitutional process as it allows them to vote in the 2018 national elections. It is every eligible Zimbabwean’s right to register to vote and freely participate in electing leaders of choice. HZT therefore calls for peace and tolerance during the registration process. HZT further calls upon all electoral stakeholders to promote peace and a conducive environment for everyone to freely register to vote and actually vote without fear of violence. From the time the programme was launched, HZT through its resident human rights monitors in all the 10 Provinces has recorded several human rights violations around the roll out of the BVR process. Some of the human rights violations recorded range from voter intimidation and harassment mostly by unscrupulous political party members and Traditional leaders.

It is the considered view of Heal Zimbabwe that such human rights violations during the BVR process runs against the grain of Part 8 of the Electoral Act on Offences in Registration of Voters that criminalises acts of intimidation during voter registration. In light of this, Heal Zimbabwe implores political parties and the general public to register in peace and maintain community cohesion through appreciating and respecting diverse views, opinions and choices.

The BVR blitz will last for 72 days and it will be held in four phases with each kit spending 16 days at the established centre. The first phase begins on the 10th of this month until the 25th, the second phase begins on the 29th up to the 13th of November, third phase from the 16th of November to the first of December and the fourth and last phase on the 4th to the 19th of December. As part of encouraging peaceful participation of Zimbabweans in electoral processes, Heal Zimbabwe has embarked on a nationwide peace campaign: 13 Million Voices For Peace. The organisation is targeting youth, aspiring candidates, traditional leaders, political parties, women and men. Several public peace awareness exercises have been lined up that includes, peace concerts, sports for peace tournaments, public peace pledges, radio peace talk shows, nhimbes, community interface dialogues, peace clean up campaigns and peace information kiosks at growth points and public places among other initiatives.

Peace Begins with me, Peace begins with you and Peace begins with all of us #13milvoices4Peace, #ivote4peace2018.

For near real time updates on the environment during the voter registration process, feel free to follow HZT on: twitter @HealZim, Facebook Heal Zimbabwe Trust,  Ushahidi platform zimvotes2018.org and whatsapp number @+263 785 699 910.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe