CSOS strategise on voter registration

Civic Society organisations under the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) banner con-vened on September 14, 2017 to deliberate on the voter registration process ahead of the 2018 elections.

The meeting, which brought together 46 members from the civic society representing women, youth, residents associations, labour, students and people living with disabilities resolved to increase voter education and encourage citizens to register to vote in the upcoming 2018 watershed elections while escalating scrutiny of the BVR process and advocacy for electoral reforms.

While there are a number of irregularities and challenges in the current electoral process, CSOs agreed to engage the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) while at the same time ensuring that all Zimbabweans register to vote without facing any hindrances.

Speaking during the meeting, Female Prisoners Trust (FemPrist) Director, Rita Nya-mupinga said that the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe through its members will mainstream political education in its pro-grams to encourage women to participate in all political processes. She emphasised that women are central in most political gatherings but their understanding of politics and vot-er education should give necessary meaning to their participation.

Responding to questions from participants with regards to the Presidential proclamation on voter registration, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) said, “The key question that we have asked is whether ZEC is launching a fresh registration or both a registration or re-registration process. If ZEC is conducting the latter, then there are challenges. If one is re-registering one needs an ID only while fresh registration requires ID’s and proof of residence. The only way that ZEC can know that one qualifies for re-registration is by way of an old roll. Previously ZEC has said that it does not have an old roll while Tobaiwa Mudede said that his computers are down. Civil Society therefore needs to start engaging ZEC on these and many other questions.”

Chimhini further pointed out that ZEC has not come out clean with regards to the issue of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits.

“ZEC received 400 kits but re-fused to invite observers to see were these kits are kept as a transparency measure, includ-ing witnessing the receiving of kits, inspecting the warehouse were these kits are stored and observing the training of master trainers. At such levels, those are the critical spaces because there are opportunities for manipulation and mal-practice,” said Chimhini.

ZIMRIGHTS Director Okay Machisa said CSOs need to put in place an active monitoring tool of all the processes and activities before, during and after the 2018 elections.

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