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'Aliens' face challenges in registering to vote in Zimbabwe

by Stephen Jakes
19 Jan 2018 at 10:28hrs | Views
Habakkuk Trust has hosted a Biometric Voter Registration roadshow in Bulawayo Ward 21 which houses one of the oldest communities in the city, Sizinda and Tshabalala, and has a significant portion of people of foreign descent "aliens".

The main focus of the road show was to encourage fellow Zimbabweans from the "alien" community to take advantage of the BVR mop up exercise and register to vote as they had been previously disadvantaged.

"In as much as the 'aliens have been allowed to register to vote, there still remains a hurdle in the acquisition of long birth certificates which is one of the requirements for people of foreign descent to be able to register and vote in the harmonised elections," said the trust.

"The issue of long birth certificates came out strongly during the road show as a number of people approached the legal desk manned by Tineyi Mukwewa from Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers for legal advice. Abameli is a network of lawyers with an interest to protect and promote the recognition of human rights."

The trust said a number of affected people narrated the ordeal one has to go through to obtain a long birth certificate.

"Requirements such as producing witnesses to ascertain origins the people in the senior citizenry age range and travelling to Harare were cited as major setbacks in obtaining civil documents. Failure to obtain these key documents disenfranchises people of foreign descent from participating in electoral processes," said the trust.

"The road show was also graced by a team from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission who did a sterling job in furnishing the audience with voter registration information. The atmosphere was electric as the crowds danced along as  Victory Siyanqoba Arts group produced a scintillating performance . Young people were given a treat courtesy of lyrics from 'Msiz K' a local rap artist. The message for the day was loud and clear; "We Citizens Act Now, Register to Vote today".

Source - Byo24News