Voter registration campaigners accuse police of frustrating efforts

MUTARE – Voter registration campaigners in Manicaland have accused police of frustrating their efforts.

Project Vote 263 transported 56 citizens to register as voters in Chikanga-Dangamvura and Mutasa North last Thursday, but activists say they were interrogated by police and had their pictures taken without their consent.

“Police authorities accused us of being proxies of western countries pursuing regime change in Zimbabwe,” Project Vote 263 chairman Allan Chipoyi said.

“Upon our arrival in Mutare with citizens we were assisting, a state agent started taking pictures of us without our consent before interrogating us about which organisation was behind the voter registration exercise.

“Two days later on Saturday, one of our district mobilisers Killian Mutsopotsi got a call from Ruda Police Station in Honde Valley Hauna from an officer who identified himself as sergeant TK (Bursery Takuruva).

“Sergeant TK accused Mutsopotsi over the phone of working with an organisation seeking to topple the sitting government before telling him that transporting people for voter registration was illegal.”

Chipoyi said they would not be stopping their campaign to register thousands of new voters ahead of elections in 2023.

“We are clear, we remain unshaken. We are a non-political organisation that works with the generality of Zimbabwean citizens that wish to pursue their constitutional mandate of registering to vote,” he maintained.

“Targeted persecutions of our members and mobilisers by rogue members of the security forces will not deter us from our obligation to empower citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.”

Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi professed ignorance over the matter and referred questions to the district spokesman, Luxon Chananda, whose phone rang unanswered.

Chipoyi said in Mutasa North constituency, at least 22 out of 30 transported citizens managed to register and eight failed to register after the biometric machine broke down.

In Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency, all 16 of the transported citizens managed to register, he said.

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