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Who can vote?
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)
July 10, 2007

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Aliens permitted to vote?

According to The Herald of 7 May 2007, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development announced that local government elections would be held in January next year. Addressing a rally in his constituency, he is alleged to have said that all aliens born in Zimbabwe should register to vote, adding that plans to issue them with identity documents were at an advanced stage. A meeting with the Registrar-General's office "to iron out grey areas" would be held shortly, he said, assuring the aliens among his audience that they would be allowed to vote.

According to a report in the same newspaper on 15 June 2007, the Registrar-General told a press conference that all persons aged 18 and above would be able to register as voters in the current voter registration exercise conducted by his officers. He said:

"The officers would be issuing birth certificates, identity documents as well as voter registration, inspection of the voters' roll, citizenship registration and restoration for those who lost it by default."

The report continued:

"Those who were made 'stateless' by the Citizenship Amendment Act Number 12 of 2003 after they failed to regularise their citizenship status and wishing to restore it, are required to bring their original birth certificates, original identity cards or a passport and, if married, their original marriage certificates."

If they produced these documents, the report implied, these "stateless" persons would be registered as citizens and voters.

Was the Minister correct? Can aliens be allowed to vote in national and local elections?

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