SW Radio Africa (London)

16 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Cabinet Calls for Fresh Voter Registration Exercise

A highly places source has said that Cabinet wants the voter registration exercise, blighted by numerous problems, be started afresh.

The source told SW Radio Africa that the new exercise should be preceded by a massive voter awareness and publicity campaign. The current exercise, launched by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), has suffered a crisis of confidence from political parties and civil society organizations.

Since the exercise was rolled out nationwide three weeks ago, observers contend that the controversies which the voter registration campaign has generated are early signs of an impending electoral catastrophe.

This comes after numerous complaints were raised on the unfair distribution of voter registration centers in the country.

There are also allegations that in perceived ZANU PF strongholds, scores of MDC-T voters have been turned away for failing to produce documents such as proof of residency, and in some areas, officials manning the exercise are charging people $10 for lost ID cards when the Ministry of Home Affairs stated it was going to be free.

The problems associated with the discredited exercise, are something that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai witnessed this week when he took his 18-year-old twins to register as first time voters.

It took the Premier 30 minutes to complete a process in which his children were initially denied registration as voters, ostensibly because they did not have proof of residence.

This is despite cabinet agreeing to broaden the documents required for proof of residence to include personal affidavits, any bill with an address or letter from employer, bank statements, or registration certificate for mobile phones, or medical bills.

Meanwhile MDC leader Welshman Ncube has refuted reports that he agreed with President Robert Mugabe to a request by a Harare man, Jealousy Mawarire, to have his court application for early proclamation of election dates heard on an urgent basis.

'Since we had already filed our opposing papers with the court, we instructed our lawyers to abide with what the court decides, whether to hear the case as an urgent matter or not.

'That is not for us to decide but the court, but the correct picture is that we will oppose the application when it goes to court and this does not necessarily mean we agree with Mugabe on a date for the proclamation of a date for election, as implied in the Herald,' Ncube said.

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