Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) joined hands in a voter education campaign in Zaka District, teaching and encouraging people to register to vote. Speaking during the voter registration campaign, ZEC official Mrs Ndondo said that they encourage people to vote as it is their right to do so and also that they can contest in elections when their names are in the voters roll. “I have come here representing ZEC reminding and also educating each other to vote. Registering to vote is important because if you register and your name is entered into the voters roll, you can participate, nominate a candidate and or contest for a council or MP seat,” said Ndondo.
She also encouraged villagers to take advantage of the voter registration blitz second phase which will run from April 11 – 30 and reminded them to carry necessary documents needed in the voter registration process. “Let us all take advantage of the registration blitz that is coming on the 11th to the 30th of April as the people who can assist you will be at your doorstep. “The only things needed when registering to vote is your National Identity card (ID) or a valid passport and proof of residence but if you do not have the proof of residence, you can go and see the councillor or come straight to the ZEC registration centres, there will be affidavits waiting for you,” said Ndondo.
Highlights during the voter education programs show that many people in rural areas do not have adequate voter information and they do not know phase two voter registration blitz dates and venues. The villagers also expressed that they are facing challenges in securing IDs, as people are being turned back a number of times by the registrar’s office due to the identity card provision daily limit. “The challenge that we are facing is that we are being turned back home without national identity cards and that is affecting us in the voter registration process and also the amount that they want is hard to find as they want the ZW $2 and ZW$5 dollar notes instead of ZW$ 20 and ZW $ 50 dollar notes saying they do not have change,” a first time voter explained.
The Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) is engaging in the voter education process so that people would know how important it is to register to vote and also urging other stakeholders to partake in voter education so that citizens and first time voters in particular will have adequate information about the voter registration process and elections in general. COTRAD shall keep on working with ZEC to intensify voter education in Masvingo province.