As the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducts biometric voter registration ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections and the Registrar General’s office also conducts a mobile registration process for IDs, birth certificates and death certificates, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) below shares some of the updates from different parts of the country. ZimRights is running the #10×10 campaign aimed at mobilising people to register as voters.
Binga Rural District Council (RDC) 21/09/2017
The registration process is going on very well at the Binga Rural District Council (RDC) offices and there is positive response from residents. An individual is being served within 15 mins, when all required documents are available. Almost 14 people had come to register from 9:00 am when I arrived until 12:00 pm. No complicated issues were raised besides the call for members of the public to come with proof of residence, no machine jam and good hospitality by the officers. There are two ZRP officers manning the centre full time. A small observation I made, around the bus terminus, reflected that most of the people were not aware of the process going on. I want to believe there is not sufficient sensitization. But, in a nutshell, a peaceful and professional registration process going on at Binga RDC.
Windsor Park in Bulawayo 20/09/2017
I went to Windsor Park at around 11:30 am. I wanted to register. Since I had no immediate proof of residence I was given the affidavit form. But, before I could complete the affidavit form, I was told that the Commissioner of Oaths is not in. I then discovered that there were about some 15, or so people waiting for the Commissioner. It was said the Commissioner is mobile and that she will be back in about an hour’s time. I therefore think the issue of the Commissioner of Oaths being unavailable at the registration centres at certain times is likely to frustrate people, who come from far to register. I therefore think we need to make recommendations to ZEC for the Commissioner to be always available. My other notice was that the ZEC officers are friendly and helpful though, but the process is very slow.
Seke Teachers College in Chitungwiza 21/09/2017
I am at Seke Teachers College voter registration centre in Chitungwiza. The process is very slow. They are taking 30 minutes to serve one person.
Thomas Coulter Annex in Hwange 20/09/2017
Today I was at the polling station at the ZEC office in Hwange at Thomas Coulter Annex from 09:50 am till 12:39 pm as people were coming in to register. I took me about 17 mins to register. What is needed is your national registration number and proof of residence. I went there without proof of residence and was given an affidavit form to fill in, and the ZEC personnel helped me through and I registered. After I was done, I just waited a little while to observe and in the process the machine got stuck for about 14 mins. One ZEC officer had to call to get assistance from Bulawayo. She was being helped over the telephone and the machine restarted and the process of registering restarted. The numbers are still small, but the process is taking around 14 mins for one person. The lesson learnt is that the machine is still new to the ZEC officers operating it and there is need to have technicians in case it breaks down. Some people do not have the patience to wait for these delays. The second challenge is the need for other personnel and machines to speed up the process. The third issue is the venue is not user friendly to the community of Hwange, it is in an isolated place and far from the people. The registry office today has started issuing birth certificates, IDs and death certificates for free.
ZEC offices in Lupane 20/09/2017
In Lupane, you just fill in the affidavit form and submit it to the ZEC official who is always present, who then signs it and you are permitted to register. However people are scared to ask for that proof of residence. These ZEC people don’t tell the truth about this whole exercise. From this side in Lupane there is voter registration apathy because: (1) Some have been told the venue is at Lupane community hall yet it is at the ZEC offices, and (2) people are reluctant to register because of intimidation from the ruling party officials. Misinformation from ruling party Zanu PF that you register where you reside as is not the case now.
Seke Teacher’s College 20/09/2017
I am at Seke Teachers College in Chitungwiza. At this voter registration centre, they have managed to register 17 people since morning. Hapana chiri kufamba (Nothing is moving). Others have left.
In Kwekwe, when I went to register, it took me 5 mins to submit my already filled form. On the affidavit form, they are not worried about the Commissioner of Oath’s stamp. We have sent SMS to more than 30 people to go and register. I happened to register when the local news crew were taking photos for their news, so I might be on the front page on Wednesday paper next week.
Checheche in Chipinge South 20/09/2017
This is the update of the Registrar General’s identity documents registration process at Checheche in Chipinge South. The process was very slow at the time I arrived, and I noticed that there was a vetting system done by the ZANU PF youth namely (1) Betty Dhliwayo (2) Tonderai Sambana (3) Pamela Dhliwayo, and (4) The sitting councillor called Lydia Hlekisani. Many young people are failing to get the IDs because they have to pay US $2, which they cannot afford. So the process is not going well here in Chipinge South Constituency, Checheche Primary school, in Ward 24.
Chiredzi East 20/09/2017
In section 27 at the polling station which is located at a creche in ward 31 of Chiredzi East, the ZEC facilities being used are not friendly to people using wheelchairs and other walking aids. People with disabilities are finding it difficult to access the ZEC facilities.