ZESN Applauds ZLHR and calls upon ZEC to extend BVR Blitz

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) applauds the move by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to attain a court order on the status of voting of aliens. High Court judge Justice Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa on Wednesday 29 November 2017 ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to register the so-called “aliens” during the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise as prospective voters for the 2018 harmonised elections.

The Court ruling is a welcome development and is in line with section 36 (1) of the Constitution on Citizenship by birth which states that, “Persons are Zimbabwean citizens by birth if they were born in Zimbabwe and (2) either their mother or their father was a Zimbabwean citizen. In addition Section 43(2) of the Constitution clearly states that persons born in Zimbabwe to a parent/s from a SADC country are citizens of Zimbabwe by birth hence they should not be classified as aliens. This applies to any person who was born in Zimbabwe, who was resident when the new Constitution came into force in 2013, and who has the Alien status on their national identification cards.

ZESN therefore recommends ZEC, CSOs and other stakeholders to increase their civic and voter education interventions in areas where this target group is concentrated. These areas include farms, mines and the small towns closer to these areas, old suburban areas among others. Furthermore, ZESN calls upon the ZEC to return the BVR Blitz to these areas so that those who could not register during phases 1 to 3 can also get the chance to register.

The need for ZEC to extend registration cannot be over emphasised given these new developments and the need to register Zimbabweans living outside the country who will be visiting home during the festive season.

We reiterate on the need for a complete, accurate and current voters’ roll which is key in improving the credibility of the impending 2018 harmonised elections.  It remains imperative that the ongoing BVR process enables all those who qualify as citizens as provided in the Constitution of Zimbabwe be allowed to register without hindrances.

ZESN is committed to promote the holding of democratic, free, fair and credible electoral processes in Zimbabwe.

Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)