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Zec rolls out last phase of voter registration

by Staff reporter
12 Apr 2022 at 06:29hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday started rolling out the second and last phase of the mobile biometric voter registration (BVR) countrywide ahead of the delimitation exercise in August this year whose outcome will determine the size of constituencies.

The first day of the exercise, however, started on a low note in most parts of the country.

The first phase of the mobile BVR ran from February 1 to 28 while the second phase will run until April 30.

The electoral management body has established 2 713 voter registration centres and employed 1 885 people to conduct voter registration education and assist the public as they register to vote ahead of next year's harmonised elections.

In Bulawayo, ZEC has established 82 centres across all 12 constituencies with 12 teams manning them.

Matabeleland provinces have the least number of registered voters and if the situation does not change, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South stand to lose constituencies while provinces in the northern part of the country stand to increase their representation.

Bulawayo recorded 6 000 new voters during the first phase of the mobile biometric voter registration blitz which ended on Monday.

When a Chronicle news crew yesterday visited selected centres, officials said the number of people who turned up to register to vote has significantly increased compared to the previous phase. In some centres such as Entumbane Complex and Barbourfields Shopping Centre, at least 100 people, mostly youths, had registered to vote by 2AM.

The news crew observed that in the selected centres visited, people trickled in to register to vote.

Voter registration centres open at 7.30AM to 5.30PM with the teams moving to a new area within a constituency.

In an interview, ZEC spokesperson Mr Jasper Mangwana said although the exercise started on a low note in most parts of the country, they have intensified voter education as part of efforts to boost numbers during the blitz.

"Today, the exercise started on a low note especially in most urban areas and some parts of rural areas, but we are intensifying our voter education to ensure that the numbers also rise as we continue with the blitz.

This is the final phase as we are going to be conducting the delimitation exercise in the second half of the year," he said.

"We are going to be looking at the boundaries for constituencies and therefore this blitz is the last one towards delimitation."

Mr Mangwana urged unregistered voters to take advantage of the mobile voter registration blitz as it will determine constituency sizes per province in the 2023 harmonised elections and beyond.

Delimitation, which is carried out after a population census and is provided for in Sections 160 and 161 of the Constitution, refers to the dividing of the country into constituencies and wards for the purposes of elections and involves coming up with a minimum threshold of registered voters in each of the country's 210 National Assembly constituencies.

The exercise could see some constituencies with a low number of registered voters being merged with others while some could be split into more than one, subject to the number of registered voters.

The number of voters in each province will be used for the delimitation exercise that will determine the number of constituencies in each province.

Mr Mangwana said with the ongoing National Identity Card Blitz being conducted by the Civil Registry Department, those who failed to register to vote in the first phase of BVR exercise will now be able to do so.

"We also take this opportunity to advise the public to also utilise this opportunity to notify us of any of their deceased relatives so that they can be excluded from the voter's roll," he said.

"When people register to vote they should also look at the voter's roll and make sure that all their details are correct.

Where there is a need for any changes, they should be able to liaise with our voter registration officers."

Mr Mangwana said ZEC has set up two voter registration teams in each of the 210 constituencies in the country.

"We have set up two voter registration teams in each of the 210 constituencies in the country and this is over and above the 73 static voter registration centres in 63 districts and 10 provinces.

Our officials manning the centres will be moving from one point to another ranging from one to three days depending on the need for them to continue in that particular area," he said.

"We deployed 1 885 voter educators to educate people about the importance of registering to vote.

We expect to cover a total of 2 713 centres during this wave as we thrive to bring the exercise to the people so that they are able to utilise this opportunity, especially in the rural communities given that they are far from our permanent voter registration centres."

Mr Mangwana said the public should present a national identity card, be it a plastic one or the temporary one or alternatively a valid passport when going to register to vote as well as proof of residence.

He said those who registered to vote leading to and after the 2018 harmonised elections should not register again as they are already registered voters.

ZEC's provincial chief elections officer for Bulawayo, Mr Innocent Ncube said the exercise in the metropolitan province started smoothly with a slight increase in numbers.

"Although, we didn't record a huge turn out on the first day, there was a slight improvement compared to the previous phase.

We hope the numbers will increase as we continue with the blitz," he said.

"We have 12 constituencies in Bulawayo each with one voter registration teams and they will be moving around the same constituency right from the beginning of the exercise until 30 April.

There are 82 centres and people should be aged 18 years and above to be eligible to register to vote."

Source - The Chronicle