Voteer registration, now a standing cabinet agenda item, once again dominated the government policy-making body meeting this week, resulting in Justice Minister Patrick Chinamsa, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau, and Registrar General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede being instructed to meet to deal with the issue threatening to throw the electoral process into chaos. Chinamasa, Mudede and Makarau were expected to meet yesterday to find ways of smoothening voter registration which is increasingly becoming a contentious issue ahead of crucial general elections. The meeting was expected to take stock of all the problems which affected the mobile voter registration exercise, discuss ways of how “aliens” will get documents to enable them to register as voters as provided for by the new constitution and look at plans to establish schools as registration centres where headmasters will become commissioners of oath to allow all Zimbabweans to be able to register.
Government is going to publish a consolidated plan of how voter registration is going to unfold.
This comes ahead of the 30-day mandatory voter registration starting on Monday after Finance minister Tendai Biti announced he has secured US$25 million for the exercise.
Voter registration has always been a big challenge in previous elections, leading to Zanu PF being accused of using a shambolic voters’ roll to rig elections.
Home Affairs co-Minister, Theresa Makone, recently reported to cabinet that ordinary Zimbabweans were failing to register due to a number of bottlenecks resulting in RG’s office being directed to replace lost identity documents for all Zimbabweans free of charge until the last day of voter registration.
“Aliens” were recently cleared to get identity cards so that they can register as voters, but despite the cabinet directive many people still found it difficult to register and acquire documents with registry officials being strict on issues such as proof of residence, among other stringent demands.