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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Harare mobile voter registration process closed on a disappointing note
    Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
    July 09, 2013

    ZEC mobile voter registration centres failed to cope with the overwhelming voter registration turnout as thousands of people, mainly women and youths, scrambled to get their names on the voters’ roll before the cut-off time of 4:30pm yesterday. The centres did not have enough manpower and residents lacked information on which queues were dealing with voter inspection, application for identity cards and voter registration; thereby creating confusion among prospective voters. In other areas, aspiring candidates were hovering at the centres calling people to come and register to vote. Distorted information was also spread at other centres where residents said they had been told that the mobile voter registration process was going to be extended to later dates. It was clear that many residents were going to fail to make it especially considering the number of people who continued to throng the mobile voter registration centres by late afternoon yesterday. Below is a brief report on the areas that were visited by the CHRA observation team:


    At 9:30am about 700 people (including women and youths) were at the centre and the queues were moving at a good pace with 15 ZEC officials serving. Residents from as far as Hopley, Highlands and Hatcliffe made part of the crowd that was registering. Those who came as early as 4:30am were served at around 9:00am. People did not know that there were separate queues for voter registration and voter inspection. At 4:30pm the number of people was just below 750 but more people were still trickling in at Marlborough High School in a bid to register to vote.


    At around 12:00pm, 1100 people had visited the centre with only 300 people having been served by that time. The so called “aliens” were turned away at Kambuzuma Section 2 Centre and were referred to Makombe to have their I.Ds changed. Alternatively, these residents were told that they could come on Thursday 11 July 2013 to have their citizenship status changed. However, some questioned how that would be possible as the mobile voter registration processing was closing yesterday. The queues were moving very slowly and many people returned to their homes saying they would come back later.


    At Rugare Primary School, only 370 people had been attended to by 1:30pm while the queue had 900 people still waiting to be served. The first group that applied for National Identity Cards at 9:00am received their I.Ds at around 12:00pm after which, they also had to stand in the queue for voter registration. Confusion reigned when a group of women circulated rumours that the centre was going to be closed at 9:00pm. Rugare ward leaders pointed out that these rumours were spread by Zanu-PF supporters who wanted residents to return to their homes after convincing them that they could come back later during the evening hours (at which point the centre would have been closed).

    More than 1200 people were still waiting at Budiriro Mobile Voter Registration Centre for their chance to register by late afternoon yesterday. The queues were not moving and only two serving points were open. Some frustrated residents left the centre with many coming to the conclusion that ZEC did not want residents to register to vote. Women and youths made the larger part of the crowd.

    Makoni (Chitungwiza)

    An estimated crowd of 1400 were at the centre at around 3:45pm and only 500 people had been served. However, with the rate of people being attended to at a given time, there were clear indications that many people were going to be left behind as more people kept coming.


    Makomo Primary School had an estimated crowd of 1200 by 4:30pm. Angry and frustrated women who had come in the morning left the centre citing the slow movement of the queues as there were only two ZEC officials serving people. A ZEC official who refused to divulge her name promised a group of women that there was a possibility of an extension of dates and time due to the overwhelming response from the residents.

    As indicated above, our general observation is that thousands of people were denied their right to register to vote simply because ZEC did not have adequate time, manpower and resources to effectively carry out the voter registration process. This situation leaves a lot to be desired and frustrates the hope of having free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

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