As a build-up towards gathering credible information on the second phase of the voter registration process and as part of the commitment to support democratic development and promote credible, transparent and accountable electoral processes in Zimbabwe; the Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) observed the second phase of the BVR blitz on an independent and nonpartisan basis for all Zimbabweans. The joint observation effort served to provide citizens and key stakeholders with accurate, independent, timely, and credible information on the BVR blitz process. ERC and ZESN’s further objective was to ensure the 2022 BVR blitz exercise was transparent, inclusive, and accountable as well as in conformity with regional and international best practices.
Before the commencement of the phase 2 Registration Blitz, the Registrar General, began a National Identity Document (ID card) issuance blitz on 01 April 2022. This was 10 days before the second BVR blitz which was to begin on 11 April 2022. The national ID blitz will run until September 2022 in all provinces across the country. A national ID is an important document for one to register as a voter during the voter registration process. ERC, ZESN and other stakeholders contend that without the issuance of IDs a large group of eligible Zimbabweans will be disenfranchised.
In the course of Phase 2 of the BVR blitz, ERC and ZESN experienced minor challenges with duly accredited observers being asked to report to the District Election Officer to get additional permission before being permitted to observe. For example, observers stationed in Gutu North, Bikita East and Gokwe Kana constituencies were requested to first report to the District Elections Officer despite having an official and valid ZEC accreditation badge. These observers were only granted permission to observe after ERC and ZESN’s intervention.
Overall, reports from ERC and ZESN observers from all 207 constituencies show that the registration of voters took place across the entire country. There were a limited number of challenges experienced, such as; some centres did not open as published in the media, observers being denied access to some of the registration centres, or issues with BVR kits not properly functioning, but these were few. Observers also reported low levels of voter education and awareness-raising in a number of constituencies. Unlike in the first phase of the blitz voter registration, observers reported that there were less challenges within the broader political environment surrounding voter registration, such as traditional leaders and civil servants taking part in partisan activities and reports of violence and intimidation.
Similar to Phase 1, ERC and ZESN call upon the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release detailed statistics on the Phase 2 voter registration blitz, which includes the number of individuals registered per day per registration centre broken down by gender and including the number of persons with disabilities. This information should be readily available; such information is routinely provided by credible election management bodies (EMBs); and doing so is in line with the best principles of open election data (see https://openelectiondata.net/en/). Without this information, Zimbabweans cannot determine for themselves if Phase 2 of the voter registration blitz has met their expectations or whether additional opportunities are needed to ensure all eligible citizens have a meaningful opportunity to newly register or update their registration information.
Download the full report here (376KB)
Source: Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)