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Election Resource Center Finds 'Gross Irregularities' in Voter Registration Process

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Voter registration centers in Harare are said to be in a shambles as the voters' roll itself, with many people apparently violating the voter registration process.

In a report, the Election Resource Center chronicles lack of accessibility and unreasonable hours as some of the issues hindering access to voter registration centers in Kuwadzana, Dzivarasekwa, Highfield, and Hatfield among others.

Officials say although the Electoral Act stipulates that voter registration be conducted on a continuous basis in order to keep the voters’ register up to date, "this is not the reality on the ground, this audit clearly spells out the irregularities that have gone unchecked at most registration centres."

The resource centre says it found in its research that some registration centers closed without reason; others had inconsistent hours of service, some requested varying forms, while others violated registration rights barring people based on perceived political affiliation.

In Kuwadzana the election center is right next to a Zanu PF office were potential registrants are screened for their political affiliation before being allowed to register. Observers found the Highfield office no longer issuing national identity documents to potential voters.

Director Wellington Zindove of the Youth Forum, which worked on the report with the Election Resource Center, says they were shocked by the violations at the voter registration centers. He said politics are certainly at play, barring people from their right to register to vote.