A Bulawayo woman has launched a solo campaign to encourage eligible residents to register to vote. The campaign is titled: ‘Be registered voter campaign, no to harbouring non-registered voters in our homes’ is targeting women to make sure they influence their family members to register.
Cora Ndebele, 39, from Pumula South said her campaign was motivated by the low numbers of registered people in Bulawayo and the Matabeleland regions.
These provinces are at risk of losing constituencies in the delimitation exercise set for this year if the number of registered people does not increase.
In an interview with CITE, Ndebele said women had to take decisive action and urge their spouses, children, helpers and tenants to register.
“One converted member in a household should convince the whole family and community to register for better. Women have to take a lead and make things happen for their homes and household. Change starts at the home, so as mothers we must make sure we are registered then turn attention to our partners, children, domestic helpers and everyone in the household above 18 years,” she emphasised.
Despite political parties and civic society having worked tirelessly on voter registration, Ndebele highlighted the response was low.
“This is why we must take the campaign to the household level, say no to non-registered citizens in our homes. Those informed at the household level should take a lead and women are encouraged to be on the forefront of this campaign,” she said.
“We women are the ones who bear the burden of suffering of all kinds yet as women we also make things happen at our homes. We turn a house into a home in the same vein, let’s encourage all our family members to be responsible and register and appear on the voters roll.”
Ndebele also added that if the situation remains unchanged women could withhold certain privileges to their partners.
“Your ‘hubby’ that we love so much, should register. If not ingubo kazitholi (not to sexual intercourse) until he is registered. He must show you his registration slip to show that he is registered.
“Even our boyfriends, bosisi should register. You can’t be in love with an irresponsible citizen. No hugs, kisses and everything until he is registered.”
“Our tenants should be registered, if not give them notice or they show you their registration slip to prove he or she is a responsible citizen.”
She noted that ultimately women suffer more from marginalisation, high unemployment rate and underdevelopment.
“It’s us who suffer because we harbour irresponsible citizens in our homes. Diaspora women, urge family back home to register and make them show you their registration slips.
You are in the diaspora, working very hard, more like a slave because someone somewhere is an irresponsible citizen and continues being irresponsible.
“This will have a negative impact on allocation of resources to these provinces which are already suffering from marginalisation. Representation will also be reduced representation at Parliament meaning issues that affect us here will not be well represented and presented before the government
“No to non-registered people at our home and there must be zero tolerance to non-registered citizens in our homes.”
Zimbabwe has a total of 210 constituencies of which only 38 of them are in the three Matabeleland provinces – Bulawayo (12), Matabeleland South (13) and Matabeleland North (13).
The remainder is spread across the seven other provinces outside Matabeleland.
Matabeleland region, especially Bulawayo which has the least number of registered voters compared to other provinces as of 2018 polls is at the highest risk of losing at least a constituency when the electoral management conducts the delimitation of electoral boundaries within the next six months unless a significant number of first-time voters register during the ongoing mobile voter registration blitz.