Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
MATABELELAND South province remains at risk of losing some parliamentary constituencies in the delimitation exercise as only about 5 000 people registered to vote during the second phase of the just-ended Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz.
In the first phase of the registration exercise, which ran from February 1-28, only about 3 700 people registered as voters.
Insufficient information on the voter registration exercise and lack of identity documents as well as general voter apathy were cited as reasons for the low numbers.
The improvement in the number of registered voters in the second phase of the exercise has been attributed to the ongoing national mobile registration exercise by the Civil Registry Department, which enabled more people to acquire necessary documentation required to register.
However, the numbers remain low, which does not eliminate the risk of the province might lose some constituencies in the delimitation exercise.
According to statistics released by Zec recently, Bulawayo has the lowest number of registered voters with 254 630 followed by Matabeleland South with 259 689 registered voters and Matabeleland North standing at 335 851.
The region is the least represented in Parliament, with 38 parliamentary seats out of 210 constituencies. Bulawayo has 12, while Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North have 13 each.
Matabeleland South provincial elections officer Mr Rabson Nyoni said the low numbers presented a challenge for the province.
“In the first phase we registered about 3 700 voters, yet it had run for 28 days. In the second phase, which ran for 20 days, we registered about 5 000 people.
“I think it was too little a time in terms of improving the chances of saving most of our constituencies.
“However, it’s a good signal that if we are to remain on the ground and continue registering people, chances are very likely that we could save some of our constituencies,” said Mr Nyoni.
He said voter registration will continue at their provincial and district offices.
“The blitz ended on April 30, but our offices will continue taking registrations. The challenge remains the same in that our offices are a bit far away from activities where the Civil Registry Department is registering people.
“We have people in the rural areas, 100km or more away from our offices. It makes it difficult for these people to travel to town to register,” said Mr Nyoni. — @Yolisswa