Runesu Gwidi Herald Correspondent
Masvingo residents want Government to extend the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise in order to accommodate those who might have failed to register.
Speaking during a consultative public hearing by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Friday last week, participants also called on Parliament to look into irregularities associated with the registration process to ensure free and fair elections next year.
Acting chairperson of the five-member committee Mr Lawrence Katsiru noted that the public hearing was specifically meant to gather views on the Insolvency Bill and Electoral Amendment Bill before enactment. Most participants shared their views on the Electoral Amendment Bill.
“It is our position as residents of Masvingo that (the) Electoral Bill must spell out the specified tenure for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission members,” said one of the participants.
“The Rita Makarau-led commission has overstayed and there are a lot of irregularities associated with the BVR process. Firstly, the process needs to be extended to allow those without identification cards to register for voting.
“The Bill must also stipulate that prisoners, patients in hospitals and civil servants, especially police officers deployed during the election, are given time to vote.” The participants said the Bill must not be silent on these pertinent issues.
“ZEC has a problem of taking too long without giving people feedback on the number of people registered and the challenges it faces in the process,” said another participant. “Hence, the Bill must stipulate time intervals of reporting back by ZEC. In the same vein, the Bill must allow non-governmental organisations to work with ZEC in both voter education and the registration process.”
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace provincial chairperson, Mr John Gore, appealed to the committee to push for the extension of the BVR registration process.
Representatives of Zanu-PF and the MDC-T were also in agreement on the need to extend the registration process.