Voter registration gives residents headaches

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.

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