Voter registration gives residents headaches

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The intensive voter registration exercise entered its second day yesterday, but it was marred by cases of people being turned away for failure to produce proof of residence and other documentation.

Report by Pamela Mhlanga/Khulani Nkabinde

In separate interviews with Southern Eye during the voter registration exercise at Moray and Milton Junior primary schools, the disgruntled residents said there was no difference between the present voter registration exercise and the previous mobile one that ended last month.

“There is no difference because we are still being required to produce proof of residence for us to register,” Ndabezinhle Ndlovu said at Milton Junior School. “We did not have that kind of requirement during the referendum, so why must we be bothered now at voter registration.”

He said the proof of residence requirement was a barrier hindering most citizens, particularly the youth, from voting in the forthcoming elections.

A 19-year-old resident, Nhlanhla Moyo, said he had been turned away because he failed to produce proof of residence.

“I did not register today because I did not bring proof of residence,” he said. “I thought this time around the requirement had been relaxed, that is why I did not bother to bring it.”

Moyo said it was disheartening that he had failed to register yesterday after he had again failed to get that chance during the last voter registration exercise.

Samson Muchemwa at Moray Primary said they were told by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials that the proof of residence was required and he was lucky that he had brought it just in case, and he successfully registered.

The government recently announced that it was waving the proof of residence requirement and had instead introduced affidavits which prospective voters could use.

A disgruntled Donald Ncube, at Milton Junior, said he had faced a challenge in checking if his name was in the voters’ roll.
“I brought a driver’s licence, but was turned away as they wanted a passport or a national identity card,” Ncube said. “That requirement is unfair considering that the driver’s licence was enough proof that I was Donald Ncube, a Zimbabwean citizen.”
Ncube said he was disturbed that he could not even verify that his name was in the voter’s roll because of the requirement.

2 COMMENTS

  1. What happened to that special affidavit which Makarau had said would be found at each registration centre? Why can’t people be believed with those utility bills as proof of residence even if they are not in their names? But when we were counted in the just ended questions we were believed to be staying where we were found without all these silly requirements. I don’t think it should be residents’ responsibility to be proving where they live. Instead Zec should be accompanying them to their places of residence if in doubt.

  2. I think the whole point of Voter registration is to gather relavant voter details before elections and not to curb peoples desire to vote. Voter registration ought not to be a decentive of voting rather it should only be a process which is to be done in preparation for elections.The refendum did not require all this and the question is what differentiates preidential elections and the referendum .Many Zimbabweans do not vote because they would not have registered, not because they do not want but because of the many formalities and documantation required.Considering the political crisis that Zimbabwe has been engaged in for the past half decade,it is very crucial for more rather than few Zimbabweans to exercise thier voting right in the forth-coming elections.Personaly I think what is needed for someone to vote is the documantation that reflects one’s nationality and not all these proof of residence things.On the referendum we went with our national identity cards only,which was fine.This excercise of requiring many document will only but lead to a situation where lesser people will vote.When one is turned away because of lack of the required documents ,he/she may be demotivated to come back again.Looking at the last presidential elections,less than 40% of the voting aged people excersised their voting right and this can be traced down to the many requirements of the voters registration process.I think all we need is a passport or a National identity card, just to show our nationality and nothing else.

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