Villagers forced to surrender voter registration slips to traditional leaders and Zanu PF activists

Villagers in Masvingo have raised serious concern over the coercive collection of Biometric Voter Registration slips of registrants by Zanu PF constituency and ward officials. Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) Community Voter Educators in Gutu, Zaka, and Chiredzi districts have observed that registered voters are being intimidated and forced by Zanu PF activists to surrender their voter registration slips to ZANU PF officials or village heads for party recording.

COTRAD voter educators in Gutu district have revealed that former Chief Serima now Gutu West ward 5 ZANU PF chairmen Mr George Chivhande, Mr Martin Nhamoinesu Gutu West ward 5 councilor and Mr John Paradzai aspiring Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Gutu West constituency have declared during rice distribution meeting at Serima last week that, those who didn’t have submitted their serial numbers will not be receiving rice. They also instructed all village heads from ward 5 to collect voter slips from their villagers.  In another case, Gutu South ward 40 Councilor Mr T Magombedze dismissed all the people who refused to bring their voter slips at a rice and fertilizer beneficiary selection meeting at Magombedze Shopping Centre.

COTRAD voter educators in Chiredzi have also observed that people in Hippo Valley Estate are being forced to surrender their voter slips to the ruling party officials in order to get government aid. Chiredzi East constituency ward 31 villagers have reported that ZANU PF branch chairpersons Mr Magavade, Mr Murire and Mr Matema are moving in the entire ward recoding voter slip serial numbers and threatening unregistered voter, that the army will be deployed to deal with every eligible voter who fails to register.

In Zaka North Constituency ward 11 Zanu PF ward chairperson Mr Cephas Guyo of Nemapfuti Village move from one household to another demanding serial numbers from the registrants.  He ordered all the registered voters in the ward who did not provide their serial numbers to meet with him at Chinyazvizi Township on Wednesdays.

COTRAD encourages the people to report to the police all cases of electoral irregularities. The voter registration slips shall remain the property of ZEC and no one has the right to demand them or part of them for any reason or purpose. COTRAD will continue to engage and report all forms of electoral irregularities to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. COTRAD will set up more peace clubs in Masvingo province to monitor and observe the electoral process.

Source: Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD)

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