Felex Share, Harare Bureau
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) begins a massive voter registration blitz today, with the electoral body stating that affidavits are not the only proof of residence required for registering.
The expansive registration exercise, to be held in four phases, will last for 72 days.
Zec has established 2 508 registration centres countrywide for the first phase, which ends on October 26.
The electoral body’s chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, yesterday said all was set for the blitz.
“Everything is on course for the extensive exercise, which we will roll out tomorrow (today),” she said.
“We are deploying and all centres should be open at 0745hrs.
“We will wait to see if there is any place with a challenge, but we do not anticipate any problems at the moment. People should come out in their numbers and exercise their right.”
Justice Makarau said title deeds and utility bills, and headmen, chiefs and landowners’ confirmation letters would be accepted as proof of residence.
Affidavits, hospital bills or clinic cards with post office markings reflecting the applicant’s address, as well as statements by the applicant’s employer confirming one’s address, will also be accepted.
Said Justice Makarau: “Zec has noted with concern that though the affidavit is one of the required proofs of residence in terms of law, it now seems the message disseminated by stakeholders is that it is the sole proof required and that only Zec can provide Commissioners of Oaths for the same.
“Political parties should advise their members of the various forms of proof of residence provided for by the law and of the other Commissioners of Oath found in our society.”
After completion of the first phase, Zec will hold the second exercise from October 29 to November 13.
The third segment will take place between November 16 and December 1, while the last phase will be between December 4 and 19.
For the first phase, Harare will have 167 registration centres, Bulawayo (108), Masvingo (322), Manicaland (345), Midlands (359), Matabeleland North (220), Matabeleland South (164), Mashonaland East (289), Mashonaland Central (225) and Mashonaland West (309).
Zec has been doing continuous voter registration since September 14.
The exercise, which was being done at only 63 centres countrywide, saw about 32 000 people registering.
The blitz is being done using the 3 000 biometric voter registration (BVR) kits procured from China.
Each biometric voter registration kit has a capacity to register between 80 and 100 people per day.
The electoral body is targeting to register seven million voters.
Treasury has already released $15 million to Zec for the registration exercise.
Justice Makarau said the amount was “not enough to cover everything, but enough to cover all the preliminary steps we have to take in terms of deploying our staff, kit operators and voter educators.”