As the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) started the First Phase of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz, ZimRights gathered from citizens in different parts of the country how things were moving on the first day. Here are some of the highlights and the timeline:
09:29 – Good morning. Epworth secondary school opened at 08:00. There is no commissioner of oaths. The headmaster has signed a few because he is busy with examinations. People registered by now are not more than 10 both polling stations.
09:45 – Morning. Registration open @ 8 am at Dzivaresekwa Community hall number 1. There are 2 ZEC officers and the commissioner of oaths is available. There is no police officer and progress is good so far 6 people registered. At the registration centre there is a branded ZANU pf car. Car brings fear to the people. People are grouping according to their political parties. 13:28 VR 9 and VR 1 forms have run out.
15:07 MDC-T officials and the ZANU PF Member of Parliament is doing the same.
09:54 – I arrived at Budiriro District registration center at 07:45. No a single poster indicating directions where the registration centre is. ZEC officials arrived at 8:25 but the District office hall was still closed. No police officers on sight. There are two ZEC officials and one ZESN observer. Door unlocked at 09:58 and single person registered by 10:16.
10:14 – At Remembrance in Mbare the process is very slow. There is no commissioner of oaths and people going to Mbare police station. Only 22 people have registered from 08:00 up to now and the number of people at the centre is growing.
10:39 – At Seke Teachers College, they opened by 08:00. There is no commissioner of oaths. People are paying 25c for the affidavits signed at a nearby church.
11:11 – Shurugwi District Ward 10. The machine is not working for now. People are coming in numbers but unfortunately the machine is down. So vaenda kogadzirisa hoping kuti by the end of the day zvinenge zvaita so that tomorrow vanhu vakwanise kuenderera mbere. (They have gone to fix the machine; we hope tomorrow it will be working so that people can carry on)
13:20 – Pamal Agency complex, Ward 5, Muzarabani, Mash Central. The center opened at 8am and there were 7 potential registrants awaiting. There 2 armed police officers, 2 ZEC officials, no party agents, no commissioner of oaths. The full BVR kit was there at the opening hour.
13:50 – Harare metropolitan, Ward 6, Townhouse. ZEC officials are very slow here they are spending 20 mins per individual. They are still learning the kit and it’s a big challenge.
10:51 – Crisis at Mutare District Registrar’s offices as people are battling to get identity documents. Hundreds of people look miserable and exhausted.