Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) calls upon all eligible voters’ especially those who reached the voting age after the 2018 election – the First Time Voters (#FirstTimeVoters) to utilize the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) mobile voter registration blitz to register to vote. The call was necessitated by the low turn-up of people registering to vote at various mobile registration centres around Masvingo province. The low turn-up is notably due to the lack of information about mobile voter registration centres, dates and also lack of national identity cards.
In response to the low turn-up of registered voters observed during the first days of the blitz, COTRAD dispatched its members to mobilize potential registrants through sports, door to door and one on one engagements. COTRAD also intensified its online mobilization strategies through the WhatsApp groups, Twitter, Facebook, online television shows, radio shows, bulk messages, circulation of voter education jingles and electronic fliers. While the provision of physical interaction platforms is done through women voter education meetings and supply of voter education printed IEC material. The campaign serves to inform people about the mobile voter registration centres, dates and to explore voter registration requirements and procedures as stipulated by the Zimbabwe electoral laws.
COTRAD urges the eligible voters to take the mobile voter registration process seriously since the registered numbers will inform the delimitation exercise. Therefore, the low numbers of registered voters will affect allocation of constituencies in the province. The voter registration process is continuing at 73 permanent district and provincial centres nationwide, and the mobile voter registration blitz is being conducted at 2 700 mobile registration centres. The blitz is set to run in two phases, the first exercise started on the 1st of February and will end on the 28th with the second phase commencing on 11th April ending on the 30th of the same month.
The voter education and information currently provided by ZEC is not adequate enough, ZEC should ensure the provision of adequate, accurate, gender sensitive and unbiased voter education as required in section 40B of the Electoral Act. COTRAD is accredited to assist ZEC in conducting voter education in terms of section 40B (3) of the Electoral Act. Therefore, COTRAD shall keep on working with ZEC to intensify voter education in Masvingo province.