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Tobaiwa Mudede misleading the nation
Youth Forum
October 13, 2011

In a bid to derail the registration of potential young and old voters, the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede released an article that was highly misleading and potentially damaging to the progress being made by different independent players like the Youth Forum in getting more people to register as voters and vote.

In an article published in The Youth Line issue No. 4 of October 2011 and also in The Herald of 21 September 2011, the Registrar General made three glaring misrepresentations of information aimed at reducing the number of new and especially young voters from registering and participating in the next election.

Rural Voters Most Prejudiced

Mr. T. Mudede in his notice on defining proof of residence for the rural folk wrote "rural dwellers would need a confirmation letter from the chief, headman or village head, farm owner or mine owner", a statement that is not only a lie but a blatant attempt at reducing elected officials' duties while amplifying the duties of traditional leaders, who are notorious for being partisan and attach themselves to ZANU PF, a party the Registrar openly sympathizes with and supports.

The Electoral Act Chapter 2:13 Acts 25/2004, 17/2007, 1/2008 on the interpretation of 'proof of residence' notes a councilor as the first person who can write that acceptable statement. The reason for Mudede's omitting this important elected official is apparent to anyone who understands the political landscape of the country. ZANU PF has fewer councilors in the country compared to its nemesis, the MDC-T, hence the need to thwart the registration of those perceived to be pro-MDC-T by denying them the proof of residence, itself a nonsensical requirement, and allow registration of pro-ZANU PF individuals by saying only partisan-traditional leaders can provide such documentation.

The ever-biased Mudede also shamelessly decided to mislead the nation, especially the rural folk that only such letters can serve as proof of residence when the interpretation section of the Electoral Act clearly adds a definition of the proof as "or any other satisfactory documentary evidence reasonably establishing the place of residence of the voter or complainant;" implying more documents such as stamped envelopes bearing the name and address of the holder can also be regarded as proof of residence as they "reasonably establish the place of residence" of the holder.

Urban Youths

In his article, Mudede says only a Zimbabwe National Registration Identity Card or a valid Zimbabwean Passport can act as proof of identity, he goes on to specifically single out the driver's license as not valid proof of residence saying "A driver's license is not acceptable for registration purpose". This is in stark contrast with the Electoral Act that governs his execution of duties with regards to voter registration as well as the registration requirements, the Act, under interpretation of terms, states "a valid driver's license containing an identity number assigned to the holder thereof under the National Registration Act [Chapter 10:17]" can act as proof of identity.

It is mind-boggling how and why the Registrar General would want to deny a lot of urban youths, most of whom survive through use of their driver's licenses to get employment, a chance to exercise their democratic right of choosing a leader of their own choice by denying them a chance to register using the licenses as allowed for in the laws governing the country's voter registration process.

The Youth Forum is in the process of consulting with its legal team to task the Registrar General to release an accurate statement that tallies with the laws governing his employment as a public servant. This is in line with the organization's campaign which aims at adding one million new young voters to the voters' roll and encourages these to participate in all forth-coming elections.

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