Biometric Voter Registration process Update 5

1.0 Introduction

On 10 October 2017, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), launched a Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz across the country. The blitz is a follow up to the launch of the BVR by President Mugabe on the 18th of September 2017. The registration process will last for 72 days and it will be held in four phases with each kit spending 16 days at the established centre. The first phase begins on the 10th of this month until the 25th, the second phase begins on the 29th up to the 13th of November, third phase from the 16th of November to the 1st of December and the fourth and last phase on the 4th to the 19th of December 2017.

Heal Zimbabwe through its resident human rights monitors located in all the country’s 10 provinces is monitoring the environment during the voter registration exercise. This is being done with the objective of monitoring the environment and report on any cases of human rights violations during the process as well as making referrals where possible for redress. In 2016, HZT established an early warning and early response system for easy detection and response to cases of human rights violations.

1.1  Below is an update of the voter registration process from 09-19 October 2017: 

Masvingo Province

Chivi North Ward 5

On 11 October 2017, Village head Genasia Dzingai and Muchazeza Homera intimidated community members in Mudadisi village. Village head Dzingai highlighted that the BVR process will detect the party and candidates that people would have vote for in 2018 elections.

Chivi North Ward 5

On 11th of October 2017, Mathias Tongofa Legislator for Chivi North constituency convened a meeting at Village head’s Genesia Dzingi Rubayamberi homestead. The meeting was attended by all Village heads from ward 5. At the meeting, he instructed all Village heads to ensure that they compile a list of people who will register to vote. Tongofa also highlighted that this will allow the Village heads to monitor opposition supporters. 

Masvingo West Ward 33

On 14 October 2017, Lydia Chimbare Sigauke, a ZANU PF member called for a meeting at King mine community hall and announced that the BVR machines will record the party and candidates that people will vote for. She also announced that any mine worker who will vote for opposition parties in 2018 will be evicted from mine houses.

Bikita Ward 20

On the 14th of October 2017, Jaison Takaendesa, a Youth Officer told people at Chiroorwe ward centre that the BVR kits will allow ZANU PF tod detect who would have voted for the opposition in next year’s elections.

Chivi South Ward 25

On 17 October 2017, officials from the Ministry of Social Welfare meeting conducted a meeting at Madzivire ward centre. It is at this meeting that ZANU PF chairperson Beauty Chinyama hijacked the meeting and started chanting slogans. She also intimidated people and told them that the BVR kits will help ZANU PF to track people who will vote for opposition parties.

Mashonaland East Province

Maramba Pfungwe Ward 2

On 19 October 2017, ZANU PF District Chairperson, Tichaona Madzonzoni ordered teachers at Kafura Primary and Secondary school to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him. Madzonzoni also instructed them to vote resoundingly for ZANU PF in the 2018 elections.

Maramba Pfungwe Ward 2

On 16 October 2017, Village head Edward Kafura ordered opposition supporters to pay 0.50 cents for proof of residence. The Village head highlighted that he was given the directive to do so by the ZANU PF leadership in the ward.

Maramba Pfungwe Ward 2

ZANU PF District Chairperson, Jofias Chiropa forced community members to pay 0.50 cents for them to get ZEC VR9 registration forms he had photocopied. This took place on the 16th of October 2017 at Kamvire Primary School. Chiropa also ordered people to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him.

Murehwa Ward 16

On 16 October 2017, ZANU PF District Chairman, Charles Chitsote directed all Village heads in the ward to deny opposition supporters proof of residence.

Maramba Pfungwe Ward 2

On 16 October 2017, Village head Edward Kafura refused to sign affidavit forms for opposition party supporters. The Village head is also charging opposition party members 0.50 cents for proof of residence.

Uzumba Ward 12

On the 09th of October 2017, Bob Muswe who is the ZANU PF Chairperson called for a meeting at a local Hall in the village. The meeting was attended by villages Muswe, Mukombe and Musanhi. At the meeting, Muswe urged Village heads to ensure that they compile names of people as they go to register and capture serial numbers of their voter registration slips.

Mashonaland West

Hurungwe North ward 7

Village head Joseph Makainganwa and Kingstone Masheedzanwa on the 16th of October 2017 intimidated community members in Kilo village highlighting that the BVR process will detect candidates whom people would have vote for in the 2018 elections. The two village heads further urged community members to submit serial numbers of registration slips soon after registering.

Hurungwe North Ward 9

On 17 October 2017, Village head Stewart Chitokisi refused to issue proof of residence to MDC-T members. The Village head also announced that opposition supporters will be detected by the BVR kits if they fail to vote for ZANU PF in the 2018 elections.

Hurungwe North Ward 7

On 18 October 2017, ZANU PF District Chairperson, Jealous Mateesanwa directed all Village heads in ward 7 to collect serial numbers of registered people from their villages.

Hurungwe North Ward 9

On 18 October 2017, Village head Chitaunhike refused to sign affidavit forms for 3 opposition party members. The Village head announced that he will only issue proof of residence to ZANU PF members only.

Kariba Ward 1

On the 18th of October 2017, ZANU PF Chairperson Chatsi Sikanako forced people at Nyamhuka Primary school to submit serial numbers of their registration slips.

Harare Province

Chitungwiza Ward 14

On the 18th of October 2017, three MDC supporters were assaulted by unknown assailants who accused them of distributing BVR fliers in Unit J. The matter was reported at Town centre police station under RRB number 3318761.

Midlands Province

Gokwe South Ward 17

On 16 October 2017, Village head Magodhi refused to issue proof of residence to MDC –T supporters. He only issued proof of residence to ZANU PF supporters only.

Gokwe Sesame Ward 17

On 19 October 2017, Leonard Hove forced people at Nhongo Primary School to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him.

Manicaland Province

Nyanga North Ward 5

On the 18th of October 2017, Village head Kandaranga refused to issue an MDC-T member (name withheld) proof of residence arguing that he received the instruction to do so from the ZANU PF local leadership. He then demanded a fee of $5 from the MDC-T in return of the proof of residence.

Mashonaland Central

Mt Darwin West Ward 16

On the 9th of October 2017, ZANU PF District Chairperson, Lastone Katanha compiled names of people who were registering at Sosera Primary School. He also forced people to submit serial numbers of their registration slips.

Muzarabani Ward 6

On the 16th of October 2017, ZANU PF District Chairperson, Denshot Mazarura wrote down names of people who were registering to vote at Kahungwe Primary School. Mazarura also forced people to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him.

Mbire Ward 7

ZANU PF Youth Chairman, Joseph Sakala and four unidentified youth officers intimidated community members who were registering to vote at Majongwe Primary School on the 18th of October 2017. Sakala told community members that the BVR process will detect the Presidential candidate and political party that people would have vote for in the 2018 elections.

Mbire Ward 7

On 19 October 2017, Fanuel Mawodzeka, a Youth Officer forced people at Majongwe Primary School to submit serial numbers of their voter registration slips to him.

Heal Zimbabwe’s Interventions

As part of ensuring protection and seeking redress on the reported cases of human rights violations, Heal Zimbabwe has facilitated for affected people to report cases to the police and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC). The victims were also encouraged to report the violations to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials manning voter registration centres. Added to this, as part of its target advocacy initiative, Heal Zimbabwe has also engaged the perpetrators and cautioned them on the need to uphold fundamental human rights such as the right to vote and register. In Hurungwe North ward 17, two Village heads, Makainganwa and Masheedzanwa admitted of having collected serial numbers of voter registration slips but however highlighted that they were given the directive by ZANU PF District Chairperson, Jealous Mateesanwa. The two Village heads also highlighted that they were not aware of the process surrounding the implementation of the BVR program and promised to stop perpetrating human rights. Heal Zimbabwe further engaged other implicated Village heads in areas such as Gokwe South, Maramba Pfungwe, Hurungwe North and Gokwe South. Generally, the Village heads highlighted that most of the directives came from the local ZANU PF leadership within their areas. Heal Zimbabwe implored the Village heads to uphold their constitutional duty of not violating fundamental human rights and freedoms of any person as enshrined in Section 281 of the constitution

Conclusion

It is Heal Zimbabwe’s assertion that the new BVR system was supposed to be accompanied by a robust voter education exercise to dispel falsehoods and myths being peddled especially in rural areas. These lies and threats have a great potential of disenfranchising many people from exercising their democratic right of voting. Heal Zimbabwe has sent all these cases to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for redress. The organization will continue to monitor human rights violations around the registration process especially in political hotspots areas.

Local authorities's engagement of debt collectors
Craft Brewery Opens in the Falls

Post published in: Featured