Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has registered nearly 11 000 prospective voters since the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) started at 63 district offices countrywide.
BVR registration started on September 18 at the district offices. In a statement yesterday, ZEC chief elections officer, Mrs Constance Chigwamba, said the voters had been registered by end of day on Monday this week, since the exercise started on September 18.
“On day one, 796 voters were registered countrywide,” she said. “This figure progressively increased and there is now a record of 10 999 voters registered as at September 25. “Each kit has a capacity to register an average of between 80 and 100 voters per day. These figures reflect a relatively good turnout.”
Mrs Chigwamba attributed the low turnout during the first two days of registration to the electorate being unaware of the commencement date of the registration exercise and the location of the offices.
She said some of the potential registrants did not have proof of residence, while others thought an affidavit of residence was the only proof of residence required.
“Others did not have the requisite documents to enable them to register to vote, for example bringing defaced national identity cards, drivers licences and expired passports,” said Mrs Chigwamba.
“A significant number of registrants did not know their wards and constituencies.” Mrs Chigwamba said the registrants were now coming with full information and this was quickening the process.
“It is now taking an average of five minutes to register one person,” she said. “Efficiency of kit operators also contribute to time taken to register a person. “Harare district managed to surpass the average figure and registered 120 and 144 people on Thursday and Friday, respectively. “The kit operators are thus picking up pace as they become more familiar with the kits.”
ZEC urged the public to be patient as more kits were expected to arrive soon for the blitz registration exercise. The electoral body’s district offices will be open during normal working hours from 0800 hours to 1645hrs from Monday to Friday. Voters are expected to bring a national identity card — metal, plastic or waiting pass with a holder’s picture or a valid Zimbabwean passport and proof of residence.
ZEC director of public relations, Mr Justin Manyau, said the commission will carry out a massive campaign and voter education programme on the BVR registration to ensure all eligible voters register. The blitz is expected to start after the arrival of an additional 2 600 kits next month.