Felex Share Senior Reporter—
THE Registrar-General’s Department will — from next Monday — roll out a three-month national mobile registration exercise for national identity cards, birth and death certificates in preparation for voter-registration, with Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede imploring aspiring voters to obtain machine readable plastic national identity cards.These cards, Mr Mudede said, would also be used for biometric voter registration. The Registrar-General urged people to take advantage of the exercise to discard metal identity cards in favour of machine-readable plastic IDs, which were introduced in 2010.
Plastic IDs, which are made of polythene and synthetic material, have the added advantage of being biometric. “They (metal identity cards) are not biometric,” Mr Mudede said, adding: “Our system has been biometric since 2010. Our cards will be requiring signatures, fingerprints and we have machines to take the images.
“People are also advised to come in better attires, with their heads and ears not covered. We want proper identification. That is international.” No one, Mr Mudede said, would be allowed to vote without identity documents. “People are encouraged to take this opportunity to obtain identity documents and also correct errors,” he said.
“It is our stand that everyone should be registered and it will not be possible for anybody to go to elections next year without the documents and argue that she or he was never allowed to register.
“You will never be allowed to vote without these documents. I am sure the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) will be coming behind us so that there will be verification at the same time.”
Mr said identity card replacements and verification would also be done during the same period. “We are going into the field with mobile registration teams in preparation of events that are coming next year,” he said. “We shall be starting mobile registration next week Monday on September 4.
“During the weekend, that is September 2 and 3, we will be deploying our teams, moving the equipment to various centres. The registration will run until November 30, 2017. “Mobile registration centres will open at 7am and close at 7pm from Monday to Friday. During weekends, we will start at 7am and close at 4pm.”
Mr Mudede added: “There are areas that may pose some danger because of being nearer to national parks with dangerous animals. We might adjust the time of closure. If there is no threat, it will be business as usual.
“The public should go to the Registrar General’s offices at provincial and district levels, sub-offices and any other designated areas. Itineraries will be with the respective provincial and district registrars.
“The registration will be a countrywide exercise and we are sure that within this period of three months people will turn up.” Zec now has the constitutional mandate to register voters, taking over the function from the RG’s office in line with the dictates of the new Constitution adopted in 2013.
The electoral body, which is set to begin voter registration soon, will have a biometric voters roll for next year’s elections. Biometry is a process by which a person’s unique traits (physical or otherwise) are detected and recorded by an electronic device as a means of confirming identity.
Mr Mudede said those caught with counterfeit identification particulars would be prosecuted. “Not very far from now, some people were caught with fake identity cards and they have been prosecuted,” he said. “They tried to manufacture IDs in the streets, but our system is tight and impeccable.
“It is not easy for anyone to forge and get away with it. If anybody tried to get the fake card from anywhere else other than the RG’s system, we are advising them to come forward and get proper documents.
“Anybody who tries to come with a card that is not ours may face prosecution. I am sure the biometric systems that are there will not tolerate counterfeits. The machines will detect imitations.”
On ID card replacements, Mr Mudede said: “We will have a number of people who will claim they lost their ID cards. We will actually be carrying out the whole registration, including that particular aspect.
“There are those who will want to be sure that their cards are readable, they are welcome, while those with defaced cards should come and surrender them for better cards.”