Civil Society Organisations have implored the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission(ZEC) to ease the voter registration process. This came out during a stakeholders’ meeting of the electoral body and several CSOs at Earth Cafe in Bulawayo on friday.
Speaking during the meeting held with, ZEC District Elections Officer Sthembiso Khuphe hailed the CSOs for their efforts at engaging and encouraging citizens to register to vote.
“We appreciate the work being done by CSOs as they have been seen mobilizing residents through different means that include virtual meetings as well as physical campaigns,” said Khuphe.
Kwanele Moyo a participant and also a member of Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association ( BVTA) was one of the many participants who implored ZEC to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution so as to ease voter registration.
“The world has shifted to the internet and so it would be advantageous for ZEC to embrace technology and conduct online registration that would capacitate a lot of people to register to vote,” said Moyo.
Fiona Mpofu , another participant pleaded with ZEC to reach out to communities and save unemployed youths in particular, from having to fork out money to travel to voter registration centres.
“ZEC must have outreach programs where they go to different places and register residents who are interested but are financially constrained. The outreaches should also be extended to secondary and tertiary institutions because there are people who are eligible to vote in those institutions,” she said.
Dr Rodrick Fayayo proposed a compulsory voter registration process. “It would be an added advantage for ZEC to have a system that automatically registers those who turn 18. Apparently, youths seem not to have time to register to vote partly because they do not understand the long term consequences of not voting,” he said.
Currently Matabeleland regions are lagging behind in voter registration as attested to by statistics which at the time of this meeting showed that Bulawayo had 258 567 registered voters, Matabeleland North 339 135, and Matabeleland South 264 185 registered voters.
During the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, only 21 people registered to vote bringing the cumulative total for the month of September to 37 people.
Khuphe advised CSOs to engage ZEC so that they work together to formulate attractive voter registration information that appeals to the youth.
Turning to delimitation, Khuphe highlighted that the voter registration process helps in the delimitation process as she warned that few people registering to vote may affect the delimitation process and allocation of resources.
Delimitation is the process of dividing the country into Constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections of persons to constituency seats in the National Assembly and Councilors to Local Authorities. The process is carried out in terms of Sections 160 and 161 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The process involves coming up with a minimum threshold of registered voters to make the country’s constituencies, and is conducted using the number of registered voters in an administrative jurisdiction. In the country, the minimum threshold is plus or minus 20 percent of 26 300. As it stands, Matabeleland stands to lose some constituencies due to failure to meet the threshold.
This meeting was part of the ZEC monthly stakeholder engagement meetings that kick started in September with the aim of enabling information sharing on electoral process.
Source: Community Podium