As the BVR exercise draws nearer to the conclusion there is compelling evidence that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not yet reached the targeted 7 million registered voters.
To date just over 4 million voters have registered as voters. The Zimbabwe Peace Project implores ZEC to extend the duration of the voting period in order to allow those who wish to register to vote to do so. A lot of Zimbabweans especially those in neighbouring South Africa and Botswana will be coming home as they normally do for the holidays. A good number of these Zimbabweans are living illegally in these countries and may have plans to come back to Zimbabwe in the new dispensation. These may have intentions of registering as voters and it is prudent for ZEC to offer these citizens the opportunity.
The extension of the BVR exercise is justifiable considering that the rainy season has just begun and the majority of citizens in the rural areas are busy planting in their fields and may not have had the time or opportunity to travel to the registration centres to register to vote. There are also those who made the time to register but may have been discouraged by the charges levied by traditional leaders for proof of residence documentation, and were unable to register.
The delay in the pronouncement on the ‘alien’ issue is another reason why ZEC needs to extend the BVR exercise. The High Court ordered ZEC to register ‘aliens’ as prospective voters for the 2018 general elections in a judgement made just over two weeks ago. So those citizens whose national identification documents were stamped ‘alien’ have only had two weeks to register as voters, a period which is clearly inadequate.
The ZPP implores ZEC to facilitate for the extension of the registration period in order for these Zimbabweans to exercise their right to vote.
ZPP is a Non Governmental Organization that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace-building initiatives. ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crises. In particular, ZPP monitors and documents incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.
If you feel that your rights have been violated and in particular during the BVR exercise, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 Toll Free: 080 80199