Voter reg­is­tra­tion be­gins

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Harare Bu­reau

THE bio­met­ric voter reg­is­tra­tion ex­er­cise is set to start to­mor­row at 63 cen­tres coun­try­wide as the Zim­babwe Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (ZEC) moves to cre­ate a new voter’s roll to di­rect elec­tions next year and beyond.

Last week, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe be­came the first cit­i­zen to be reg­is­tered un­der the new sys­tem that will see the coun­try adopt the new tech­nol­ogy. The ex­er­cise is a pre­cur­sor to the mas­sive voter reg­is­tra­tion blitz next month when ZEC takes de­liv­ery of the re­main­ing 2 600 Bio­met­ric Voter Reg­is­tra­tion (BVR) kits.

To date, Zec has re­ceived 400 kits to train tech­ni­cians as well as use for the fore-run­ning ex­er­cise. Bio­met­ric tech­nol­ogy will ap­ply only for voter reg­is­tra­tion and Zec will re­vert to the man­ual sys­tem dur­ing the ac­tual election which will take place next year at a date to be fixed. ZEC tar­gets to have a per­fect vot­ers’ roll be­fore next year’s gen­eral election, a de­vel­op­ment that is ex­pected to quell post-election dis­putes and al­le­ga­tions of vote rig­ging.

Ev­ery Zim­bab­wean who in­tends to vote in next year’s election is re­quired to regis­ter afresh to ap­pear on the new vot­ers’ roll. Prospec­tive vot­ers are re­quired to regis­ter to vote near­est to their homes, as vot­ing in next year’s election is go­ing to be polling sta­tion-based.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, ZEC chief elec­tions of­fi­cer Mrs Con­stance Chig­wamba said reg­is­tra­tion of vot­ers would take place at the elec­toral body’s 63 dis­tricts.

“It is hereby no­ti­fied for gen­eral in­for­ma­tion that the Zim­babwe Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (ZEC) shall be reg­is­ter­ing vot­ers us­ing the new Bio­met­ric Voter Reg­is­tra­tion (BVR) sys­tem at all the ZEC Dis­trict of­fices with ef­fect from 18 Septem­ber 2017. The of­fices will open dur­ing nor­mal work­ing hours from 0800hrs to 1645hrs, Mon­day to Fri­day.”

Mrs Chig­wamba said doc­u­ments re­quired for one to regis­ter to vote are a na­tional iden­tity card (both metal or plas­tic or wait­ing pass with the holder’s pic­ture), a valid pass­port and proof of res­i­dence.

Speak­ing dur­ing the launch of the BVR equip­ment at State House last Thurs­day, ZEC Chair­per­son Jus­tice Rita Maka­rau said ZEC was ready to con­duct bio­met­ric voter reg­is­tra­tion from to­mor­row.

“We are ready for this ex­er­cise. Fi­nan­cially, we have the re­sources and our peo­ple have been trained to use the kits and they are ready to regis­ter all Zim­bab­weans at the 63 dis­tricts,” she said.

“It has been said that af­ter the ex­er­cise ends on the 15th of Jan­uary, it will ex­clude those that would have turned 18, the an­swer is a clear no. Voter reg­is­tra­tion in Zim­babwe is con­tin­u­ous. It will con­tinue un­til af­ter the 15th of Jan­uary, un­til nom­i­na­tion court and 12 days af­ter that.

Jus­tice Maka­rau said the start of the voter reg­is­tra­tion ex­er­cise is a his­toric oc­ca­sion and im­plored all Zim­bab­weans to regis­ter to vote.

She said the BVR tech­nol­ogy will cap­ture a per­son’s fin­ger­prints, fa­cial fea­tures, and iden­tity card de­tails to rule out any chances of dou­ble vot­ing.

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