George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
The ZANU-PF provincial party leadership in Masvingo has expressed concern over the appallingly low figures of members, who have so far registered under the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system.
The development comes amid calls for ruling party senior officials to intensify the ongoing voter mobilisation and registration campaign across the province. Party members, who regard Masvingo as a “one-party state” under the unfettered dominance of ZANU-PF, have been pushing for a vigorous voter mobilisation campaign to make sure President Mugabe and the party win resoundingly in next year’s polls.
Preliminary indications show that slightly over 200 000 people have so far registered under BVR in Masvingo. However, calls have been growing to intensify the programme, while expanding issuance of identification cards to enable prospective first-time voters across the province to register. Masvingo has an estimated population of 1,4 million people.
Central Committee member and Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Walter Mzembi told a ZANU-PF Masvingo provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting on Monday that the leadership was not impressed with the small number of people who have so far registered under the BVR system. He exhorted senior ruling party officials in the province to embark on a massive and expansive voter mobilisation campaign across the province.
“The biggest task that lies ahead of us is to make sure more people register under BVR. We can only enjoy if we win next year’s polls, but I am concerned that our figures are very low. We need to move on the ground and move very fast, let’s go to the cells and encourage our people to register to vote so that we can deliver victory to President Mugabe and our party ZANU-PF,” he said.
Cde Mzembi said the only way Masvingo Province can pay homage to President Mugabe was to ensure that the party wins convincingly.
“President Mugabe will be leading us in next year’s elections while we follow. Let us vote for President Mugabe in next year’s elections to thank him for cleansing our party in Masvingo Province,” he said.
Some of the ruling party leaders at the meeting said there was need to further expand the programme by the Registrar-General’s Office to issue identification cards, particularly in remote rural areas where the majority did not have identification documents.
They said more people would only be able to register to vote if they were issued with IDs. ZANU-PF strongholds of Mwenezi and Chiredzi have so far registered fewer-than-expected voters under the BVR system. It is suspected that the majority of potential voters in these areas do not have IDs. The ruling party is angling to retain all the 26 House of Assembly seats won in Masvingo in the 2013 harmonised elections.