ONE of the enduring legacies of the liberation struggle that culminated into the country’s Independence on April 18, 1980 is universal suffrage in Zimbabwe that the majority blacks did not enjoy before breaking from the yoke of colonialism.
One man one vote was part of the mantra that inspired the sons and daughters of this beautiful country to take up arms to dislodge colonialism that had for years disenfranchised the owners of Zimbabwe.
It can be said that the land question and the right to vote were part of the uppermost issues that the country’s liberators sacrificed life and limb for in waging a war against the Rhodesian government, a fight that gave birth to Independent Zimbabwe.
In honouring the sacrifices of the sons and daughters of the soil, Zimbabweans are encouraged to exercise their right to vote and beyond honouring their heroes, this is how they will decide their future that is in line with the ideals of the principles of the liberation struggle.
It is against this background that calls by President Mnangagwa, himself a veteran of the liberation struggle, for all eligible voters to register to vote ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections should be appreciated.
Speaking in Gweru on Thursday, President Mnangagwa said those without identity particulars should take advantage of the ongoing free registry services across the country.
Zimbabwe is set to hold polls next year when it will elect the President, Members of Parliament and councillors.
Over the years many people have cried foul over lack of access to identity particulars due to high costs and the issue of proof of birth and witnesses.
This time around registry teams have been deployed across the country and President Mnangagwa has directed that the services be offered free of charge and that issuance terms have been relaxed.
Addressing thousands of Zanu-PF party supporters who gathered at Bata Shoe Factory in Gweru after touring three companies in the city, President Mnangagwa said no one has an excuse for not exercising their right to vote.
“We have elections coming next year. In order to vote you need to first register and in order to do that you need to have identity particulars,” said the President.
“That is why we have removed the fees for issuance of identity documents.
There are also no more tedious processes and complicated questions for one seeking to get identity documents.
We have phased these out.
“If there are registry officials here, I say please ‘don’t trouble our people’.
“No one should cry foul for not having IDs or birth certificate,” said President Mnangagwa amid applause from the large gathering.
The President said even those who are not sure of the exact details of their birth record deserve to be issued with identity documents and only need to approach the mobile teams and present their cases, without the hassle of bringing witnesses.
President Mnangagwa reminded Zimbabweans that country’s freedom, including the right to vote, came after a protracted armed struggle.
He said every citizen must jealousy guard this freedom and right to vote.
President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to maintain their loyalty to the revolutionary party, Zanu-PF, which he said has continued to preserve the ideals and gains of uhuru.
He also stressed the importance of preserving peace and tranquillity in the build-up to the electoral process, urging Zimbabweans to remain united and foster sustainable socio-economic development.
As elections draw near, President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans not to be deceived into voting for enemies of the state saying the country must be led by its patriotic leaders, those who value the gains of the liberation struggle and not sell-outs.
On many occasions, President Mnangagwa has reiterated that the country can only be built by its owners and voting is part of that nation building.