THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has noted with concern the absence of commissioners of oaths at many Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) centres in the ongoing blitz to register voters across the country.
Reports gathered by ZimRights show that the commissioners of oaths are totally absent, arrive late or leave the centres while registration is still in progress, forcing people to either look for alternatives where they have to pay, or to leave the registration centres without registering for failure to fulfil the proof of residence requirement.
These shortcomings are greatly affecting the voter registration process and unnecessarily compounding the challenges caused by the unfamiliarity of the new biometric system.
ZimRights would like to emphasise that all eligible citizens have the constitutional right to register, in the ongoing BVR blitz as voters, for them to express their political preferences in the forthcoming harmonised elections in 2018.
Any hindrances caused by the proof of residence requirement must be eliminated and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should provide commissioners of oaths at all registration centres.
The government of Zimbabwe has a duty to fund electoral processes and see to it that all personnel such as commissioners of oaths and stationery including VR 1 and VR9 forms required for voter registration are provided.
ZimRights is also concerned with the exorbitant cost being incurred by political parties and other organisations in deploying observers due to the US$ 10 accreditation fee per person which has pegged the cost of deploying observers across the country out of reach.
The observation process is at the heart of ensuring that all stakeholders are satisfied with the transparency and integrity of the voter registration process hence the cost of deploying observers must not be overpriced.
ZimRights notes that the electoral commission is funded from public coffers and the accreditation process should not be a fundraising undertaking.