On Sunday, October 29, 2017, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) launched the Second Phase of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and the Election Resource Centre (ERC) recently conducted a campaign of roadshows to urge citizens to register as voters. Currently, similar roadshows are underway in Matabeleland and Bulawayo provinces. In addition to training voter mobilisation teams, the organisations have also accredited observers for the registration process. Below are some of the reports from different centres across the country. Where required, ZimRights and ERC have helped, including mobilising of Commissioners of Oaths for centres reported to be without.
Sunday, October 29. Chinhoyi
Phase 2 has commenced in chinhoyi and other surrounding areas and I managed to move around 12 centres. There is nothing which indicates that there is a voter registration process going on. No posters. No direction arrows.
Sunday, October 29. Masvingo
ZEC officers have been at St. Don Bosco Parish educating people about the new BVR, as well as encouraging people to register to vote. However, a little surprise to everyone is that the officers did not give room for questions; they just left the podium soon after their brief presentation.
Monday, October 30. Greendale
Here in Greendale, there are two police officers, and two ZEC staff. When I arrived they said their machines have flat batteries. There is no Commissioner of Oaths.
Monday, October 30. Bulawayo
There is a challenge at Pelandaba Hall. They are requesting for both the affidavit and the proof of residence and there are no Commissioners of Oaths.
Monday, October 30. Masvingo
In Masvingo District at Sipambi registration began well yesterday and today there are lots of people who came to register. The queue is progressing well. Village heads are providing villagers with proof of residence with no complaint raised so far. The officers are serving people at a swift pace.
Monday, October 30. Tsholotsho
I am at one registration point at Dombo Primary school. People are going back without registration and they don’t have proof of residence. There is no Commission of Oaths.
Monday, October 30. Manicaland
At the District Administrator’s A complex, 43 Tembwe street in Mutare central’s Ward 10BVR kit number 2973, they opened at 0720hrs. Laptop, camera, finger print scanner, mounted printer and forms all were there. There were two ZEC officials and two police officers and Commissioner of Oaths is there. The kit was well set up and there were five party agents.
Monday, October 30. Lupane
At the ZEC offices at KDRC Multipurpose Hall in Lupane District in Ward 15 of Lupane west, the centre opened at 0800hrs. There are four ZEC officials, two police officers and Commissioner of Oaths. The BVR kit is there operating well; there is a solar panel, laptop, scanner, generator, and two solar batteries. People with disabilities can access the centre. It takes five to 10 minutes to register one person.
Monday, October 30. Seke
At Seke Teachers College in Chitungwiza, the centre opened at 0730 hrs. There were two ZEC officials and two police officers. There was a single machine working and the camera, laptop, and scanner all in good order. Pregnant, women with babies and elderly people were given first priority. Commissioner of Oaths was there. No political agents. Total number of registered people was 97, 56 females and 41 males, by the time of closing time at 1830 hrs.
Tuesday, October 31. Hwange
I am at a centre in Hwange district in Ward 8. The centre opened around 0700 hrs. Tea break took 17 mins. People are coming to register. Commissioner of Oaths is available with three ZEC officials and two police officers. There are no party observers. I witnessed two people who were sent away. One did not have an identity documents (ID) card, but had a driver ‘s licence. The other had a paper ID.
Tuesday, October 31. Umzingwane
At Umzingwane Rural District Council in Matebeleland South, the centre opened at 0800 hrs. The BVR kit was functioning properly, and there three Zec officials and one police officer. The pregnant and disabled were being treated fairly. The registration centre was very busy. They took 5-10mins per individual and most of them were youths.
Tuesday, October 31. Muzarabani
At Pamal Agency Estate complex , Ward 15 , in Muzarabani District, the center opened at 0740 hrs. There were three ZEC officials, three police officers, and one Commissioner of Oaths. There were no observer or party agents. They had a full BVR kit. Elderly and pregnant women were given priority . In the mid-day, there were 12 females and seven males. The center closed at 1700hrs. They refused to give me statistics.
Wednesday, November 1. Tsholotsho
I witnessed at Simanje Hall, Ward 15, in Tsholotsho South that Zanu-PF are demanding voter registration slips from villagers who have registered so that they write down all the serial numbers. From these two constituencies in Tsholotsho people are complaining that there are patrolling from 200 metres the registration centres, taking their serial numbers from registration slips.