Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) was in Masvingo for the latest edition of its informal sector voter education campaign dubbed the Enhanced Informal Sector Voter Mobilisation and Advocacy Initiative (EISeVOMA). The EISeVOMA seeks to enhance informed young informal traders and informal traders with disabilities’ participation in the upcoming by elections and 2023 harmonized elections in all the major towns and cities in ZIMBABWE. EISeVOMA aims to (1) increase knowledge on electoral processes (voter education) especially on boundary delimitation processes, and (2) increase numbers of young informal traders registering as voters.
VISET Executive Director Samuel Wadzai says the purpose of meeting is to conscientise participants on the need of vendors to participate in electoral processes. This is a nonpartisan Initiative that will seek to give the basic principles of mobilizing voters in the areas they operate from. Shuttle services will soon be launched to assist those intending to go and vote throughout the country.
Wadzai introduced facilitator for the day, Solomon Bobosibunu who is the Programmes Lead with Elections Resource Centre (ERC) and has over 10 years’ experience in voter education. Solomon began by stating that the session they were having was to give participants awareness so they can equally give this to those within their communities in order to capacitate them to vote. Solomon then went into unpacking the election cycle to participants. The Electoral Act (Section 17A) states that voter registration should be conducted on a continuous basis in a non-partisan manner.
It was important for participants to understand that registration must be done on time so that ZEC is aware in time of the number of materials to be allocated to specific voting stations. When mobilizing, it is imperative that youths be targeted as according to the 2018 voters roll, only 44.3 % of youths registered, yet the demographic makes up over 66% of the population. It is also critical to explain to people that the process is biometric which makes use of fingerprints and facial recognition.
Another issue to explain is why it is important to register to vote. Solomon said at the current rate of voter registration, it was likely Masvingo province would lose two constituencies hence why it was imperative to get people registering to vote. Edward Kapodogo of the VISET Programmes Department then went into unpacking how participants can mobilise within their areas and emphasized that it was important to equip people with the requirements needed for registration such as national identity, excluding driver’s licence and proof of residence. Edward said that as at adoption of the new Zimbabwean constitution in 2013, all people that had previously been classical aliens were now recognized as Zimbabweans if they had prior to 2013 been resident in Zimbabwe and not holding any other nationality.
Nancy Chanetsa representing people living with disabilities in Masvingo province thanked VISET and its partners for the programme saying that for once there was a purposeful effort to mobilising their sector and hoped this would be replicated in all governance systems to ensure their voice is heard.