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Voter Registration Teams Fail to Turn up in Mashonaland East

  • Thomas Chiripasi
  • Jonga Kandemiiri

The mobile voter registration exercise entered its second day Tuesday with officials from the Registrar General’s Office and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) failing to turn up at several centers in most parts of Mashonaland East province.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says this is a deliberate ploy to block supporters in its strongholds from registering as voters.

Several residents of Marondera East said they have not been able to register or inspect the voters’ roll because officers from the RG’s Office and the ZEC were not present all day at most designated centers.

One of those affected is former Zanu PF Deputy Minister of Labor Tracy Mutinhiri, who now wants to contest for a parliamentary seat in Marondera East under the MDC formation of Mr. Tsvangirai.

Mutinhiri suspects there is politicking in the on-going mobile voter registration exercise.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora maintains Zanu-PF has a plan to disenfranchise his party’s supporters ahead of elections expected to be called sometime this year.

Indications are that the mobile registration exercise has been chaotic in other parts of the country where prospective voters have been left confused.

A center in Redcliff, Kwekwe, for example, only had one voters’ roll for a local ward when it is supposed to serve five wards.

Member of Parliament for Mbizo constituency Settlement Chikwinya, who visited the centre Tuesday, said the district registrar told him they were expecting other rolls from Gweru.

In other wards, some people claimed officers were still demanding letters from village heads to process their papers.

Election Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhinyi blames the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for failing to adequately prepare for the exercise.

Meanwhile, 19 MDC-T supporters, arrested last week while on a door-to-door voter education campaign in Hatcliffe, Harare, were Tuesday denied bail by a Harare magistrate, Donald Ndirowei.

Attorney Denford Halimani said the magistrate erred in his ruling, adding an appeal will be launched Thursday in the High Court.