Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) process (Update 6) (20-28 October 2017)

Source: 30 October 2017Elections, Human Rights

Introduction 

On 10 October 2017, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), launched a Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz 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 registration process 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 1st of December and the fourth and last phase on the 4th to the 19th of December 2017.

Heal Zimbabwe through its resident human rights monitors located in all the country’s 10 provinces is monitoring the environment during the voter registration exercise. This is being done with the objective of monitoring the environment and report on any cases of human rights violations during the process as well as making referrals where possible for redress. In 2016, HZT established an early warning and early response system for easy detection and response to cases of human rights violations. This report gives an account of the violations that were recorded in the last days of the first phase of the registration exercise.

Below is an update of the voter registration process from 20 – 28th October 2017

Mashonaland Central Province

Mt Darwin North ward 4
Village head and Youth Officer Kudzanai Mutemamombe on the 26th of October 2017 forced community members to submit serial numbers of their registration slips to them at Kapiriri Primary School.

Mt Darwin ward 4
John Karikoga, a ZANU PF member on the 23rd of October 2017 told community members at Kapiriri School that BVR kits will record videos as people vote in the 2018 elections. He further stated that the information will be used to detect who would have voted for the opposition.

Mt Darwin North ward 31
Village heads Matisha, Muzemba and Mbadzo on the 24th of October 2017 forced community members to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to them after registering to vote.

Mt Darwin ward 34
ZANU PF District Vice Chairman, Stephen Kamonera on the 24th of October 2017 forced community members to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him.

Mt Darwin West ward 36
Village head Mutyambizi ordered community members to submit their voter registration serial numbers to him after registering to vote. This took place on the 21st of October 2017 in Mutyambizi village.

Mt Darwin West Ward 36
Village head Secretary, Windrose Charehwa ordered community members on the 27th of October to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him after registering to vote. This took place in Charehwa village.

Mt Darwin West ward 36
Village head Frank Chihoko ordered community members to submit serial numbers of their registration slips to him on the 27th of in Chihoko village. He was seen compiling names and serial numbers of those who had registered to vote at his homestead.

Muzarabani North ward 2
ZANU PF District Chairman, Charles Mupungu on the 26th of October 2017 ordered community members to submit serial numbers of their registration slips during a ZANU PF meeting conducted at Ndorohwe centre. Mupungu highlighted that all opposition supporters will be heavily beaten in the upcoming 2018 elections if the opposition win the elections.

Muzarabani ward 19
ZANU PF District Chairman, Lucklin Moto on the 23rd of October 2017 ordered community members to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him.

Muzarabani South ward 22
ZANU PF District Chairman, Kenneth Mapondera ordered community members to submit serial numbers of their registration slips to him. This took place during a meeting conducted on the 20th of October 2017 in village 2.

Muzarabani North ward 27
ZANU PF Chairperson, Abigail Ngaguwo on the 20th of October 2017 collected serial numbers of voter registration slips from community members in Ndove village.

Bindura ward 10
ZANU PF District Chairman identified as Mandundu and ward 8 Councillor Bhurashu intimidated community members during a meeting conducted at Chiwaridzo Hall on the 20th of October 2017. Mandundu highlighted that the BVR machines will disclose where people would have voted for.

Mazowe South ward 13
Councillor Edward Mutyavaviri on the 25th of October 2017 intimidated community members during a community meeting conducted at Dambo Clinic. He highlighted that the BVR machines will enable ZANU PF to detect who would have voted for the opposition in the 2018 elections.

Mbire ward 17
Village heads Kapembere and Mtukudzi on the 25th of October 2017 forced community members to submit serial numbers of their registration slips to them. The two recorded the serial numbers in books.

Masvingo Province

Chivi South ward 25
Village head George Mutota on the 20th of October 2017 refused to issue proof of residence to opposition supporters in Pedzisai village.

Chivi South ward 28
Village heads, Chigavo, Dzigagwi and Chivasa on the 24th of October 2017 ordered community members to submit serial numbers of their registration slips to them soon after registering to vote. Village head Chigavo highlighted that the BVR machines will disclose political parties people would have voted for in the pending elections.

Chivi ward 22
Village head Bonas Magodhi on the 26th of October 2017 forced community members to submit serial numbers of registration slips when the registration process begins. This occurred during a meeting conducted in Mukonde village. When contacted by Heal Zimbabwe staff on why he gave that directive, Magodhi highlighted that he was not aware of what the registration serial numbers were going to be used for but that he got the directive from Saul Matambu, the ZANU PF District Chairman.

Mashonaland West Province

Hurungwe West ward 24
ZANU PF Cell Chairman, Israel Jimu on the 27th of October 2017 ordered community members to submit serial numbers of registration slips to him.

Hurungwe ward 24
Village head Secretary David Magodo on the 27th October 2017 ordered community members to submit voter registration serial numbers to him during a meeting conducted in Moyo village. Magodo highlighted that the directive came from ZANU PF District Chairman Faro Kuyerukana.

Manicaland Province

Chipinge South ward 27
ZANU PF Chairman Lazarus Ndlovu ordered community members to submit serial numbers of voter registration slips to him. This took place on the 26th of October 2017 at Vheneka.

Buhera Central
Village head Ephius Dzingirai on the 26th of October 2017 intimidated community members during a community meeting conducted in the ward. He highlighted that the BVR kits will disclose where people would have voted for.

Mutasa ward 5 
ZANU PF Chairperson, Maxwell Borerwe ordered village heads not to issue proof of residence to opposition supporters during a meeting conducted on the 22nd of October 2017 at Muparutsa Primary School.

Mashonaland East Province

Mudzi South ward 12
Denford Katsande, secretary for Village head Katsande forced community members to submit serial numbers of voter registration slips to him on the 24th of October 2017. Katsande highlighted that he received the directive from the ZANU PF Chairperson Maina Chisero.

Mutoko North ward 3
Village head Kagande ordered teachers to submit serial numbers of voter registration slips to him on the 26th of October 2017 at Kagande Primary School.

Murehwa West ward 14
Tedious Sithole a youth officer, Farai Mapanga, Hebert Mapanga and Fredrick Ganda moved around the ward on the 28th of October 2017 forcing community members to pay $0.50 cents per person to acquire proof of residence forms.

Maramba Ward 6
On the 28th of October 2017, village head Adson Maworere and ZANU PF District Chairman Monday Kufuka ordered community members to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to them. Kafuka highlighted that the BVR kits will disclose where people would have voted for. This took place during a meeting conducted at Chinhanga Primary School.

Harare Province

Chitungwiza Zengeza East ward 13
A ZANU PF youth identified as Trust ordered residents to submit their voter registration serial numbers to him on the 25th of October 2017 at Gomba Business Centre.

2.0 Heal Zimbabwe’s Interventions

Heal Zimbabwe is committed to protecting and assisting the affected people so that they are able to access justice and requisite social services. As such, Heal Zimbabwe responded to the reported human rights cases by facilitating for the victims to report to the Police, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The organisation engaged all the perpetrators under its target advocacy initiative imploring them to desist from violating fundamental human rights and freedoms such as the right to freely participate in democratic process. Case studies include that of  village head Bonas Magodhi from Makonde village, Chivi ward 22 who admitted to collecting serial numbers but highlighted that he was not aware of what the registration slips were going to be used for. He further highlighted that the directive came from the ZANU PF District Chairman, Saul Matambu. In Buhera ward 19, village head Ephius Dzingirai also admitted to have collected serial numbers of the voter registration slips, a directive he claimed he got from the ZANU PF District Chairman, Douglas Musakaruka. In Hurungwe ward 24, Village head Secretary David Magodo admitted to have compiled list of serial numbers and highlighted that all the village heads in the ward collected the serial numbers unbeknown of the implications thereof. After Heal Zimbabwe explained to them that it was unconstitutional and illegal to intimidate the electorate, the perpetrators vowed not to commit such offences again in the future. Heal Zimbabwe continues to call upon traditional leaders to uphold their constitutional mandate as stated in section 281 of the Constitution.

2.1 Conclusion

Heal Zimbabwe has observed that the BVR related human rights violations being recorded across the country points to the lack of a robust voter education exercise. An extensive voter education campaign by ZEC would have helped to demystify the falsehoods, myths and threats being peddled around the BVR process. HZT is worried by the lack of information especially in rural areas. The organization will continue to monitor human rights violations around the registration process especially in political hotspots areas. The organisation’s 24 hour rapid response system is also on standby to respond to the cases that requires immediate assistance.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe