The three-month mobile registration of national identity cards, birth and death certificates launched by Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede’s department starting yesterday is a noble exercise.
It is a known fact that there are many Zimbabweans out there without such necessary documents because of one reason or another. One being that the Registrar-General’s offices are considered to be far away, especially in some rural areas, and many cannot afford the transport fares.
In this regard, the efforts being undertaken by Mr Mudede’s office should not be taken for granted. There are many people out there who cannot wait for such an exercise, as it will afford them an opportunity to obtain the important documents.
Apart from satisfying the general demand for the national documents, the exercise will enable many people to register to vote in the forthcoming 2018 harmonised elections.
One of the major requirements for voter registration is that a prospective voter should be in possession of a national identity card. This is an opportunity being availed by Mr Mudede for those who want to vote in next year’s elections to come forward and obtain the necessary documents to enable them to register.
It is important that the Registrar-General’s Office avails all the necessary information so that people are aware of the centres in their localities where such exercises will be taking place.
There should be enough information on the requirements for one to obtain a national identity card, a birth certificate or a death certificate to avoid many being turned away.
We note that Mr Mudede has since encouraged people to use the opportunity offered by his department to obtain machine readable national identity cards that were introduced in 2010. There has been confusion caused by some unruly elements that this will affect those who want to register to vote in 2018.
And there are some from the opposition parties already insinuating that Mr Mudede wants to involve himself in the registration of voters, which is outside the mandate of his department. Mr Mudede is not registering people to vote, he is simply providing them with documents that will enable them to do so when the time comes.
He encouraged people to take advantage of the exercise to obtain plastic IDs, but never said metal identity cards were no longer accepted in Zimbabwe. Fears from political parties such as MDC-T, which have been trying to put words into Mr Mudede’s mouth, are outright mischievous.
Instead, all political parties should be applauding Mr Mudede for offering their supporters a chance to obtain documents that will enable them to register as voters.
Opposition political parties are trying to discourage the Registrar-General’s Office from going to the people and issuing such documents. Their major motivation is that they have already lost hope of winning the 2018 harmonised elections and they are trying to put spanners into all preparations.
It is a way of creating conditions that will make it possible for them to dispute the elections. The RG’s Office is simply creating conditions that will make it easy for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to carry out the biometric voter registration exercise.
And this should be most welcome to all those interested in seeing a successful election next year.
The mobile registration centres will be open during the day at 7am and close at 7pm from Monday to Friday.
During weekends, they will open at 7am and close at 4pm.