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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Mobile voter registration process in Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe Election Support Network
    May 2013

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    Free and fair elections cannot be undertaken without a proper verification that the voters participating in the election fulfill of legal requirements to do so. Best practice dictates that all the procedures related to the registration of voters be complete, inclusive and non-discriminatory. This is critical as any doubts or irregularities in this process will inevitably cast a shadow on the electoral outcome. Principles of voter registration include integrity, inclusiveness, comprehensiveness, accuracy, accessibility, transparency, and security and credibility.

    In Zimbabwe all the requirements for voter eligibility are clearly laid in the Constitution. The Electoral law however has to regulate, design, and update these requirements. Indeed the legal framework should require that voter registration be maintained in a manner that is transparent and accurate, protects the right of qualified citizens to register, and prevents the unlawful or fraudulent registration or removal of persons.

    Against the background of a flawed, bloated voters’ roll, over the past years calls have continued to come from citizens, political parties and civil society organisations for a transparent voter registration exercise to be conducted before the next election.

    On the 29th of April, the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) and the office of the Registrar-General rolled out a mobile voter registration exercise to reach the prospective registrants across the country. The exercise began on April 29 and ran for 21 days until May 19 – although normal registration continued at district offices. ZEC is mandated by law to supervise the compilation of the voters’ roll, registration of voters and maintenance of an up to date voters’ roll among other duties and responsibilities.

    The Registrar General set up 89 Mobile Voter Registration teams to cover 62 districts. The teams were located in selected wards and registration centers opened from 7am-7pm during week days and 7am -5pm during weekends. The teams also comprised of a team that was also issuing out national identity documents.

    The just ended mobile voter registration process has been described by various stakeholders as chaotic and unsatisfactory. According to the Herald, Wednesday 22 May 2013 about 200 000 Zimbabweans registered as first-time voters’. An estimated 268 574 inspected the voters’ roll, while 71 131 transferred from their previous ward. An estimated number of 214 230 people had their identity cards issued. The process was marred by lack of funding, inadequate publicity and voter education, thus the process has been defined as haphazard and ill-planned.

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