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ZEC: Biometric Voter Registration Very Impressive

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is expected to launch its second phase of the Biometric Voter Registration blitz on Sunday.

The first phase of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's so-called Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz ended Wednesday countrywide with almost a million people registered on the new voters' roll.

Some Zimbabweans told VOA Studio 7 that the two-week long blitz did not have a huge impact on local people due to lack of publicity.

Others believed that the whole voter registration drive is over following the end of the BVR blitz.

In some parts of the country, like Matabeleland and Midlands regions, a large number of people don’t have identity documents as their parents were allegedly killed by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in the 1980s.

On the other hand, young people, comprising the largest number of potential voters in Zimbabwe, are dragging their feet on the registration exercise, saying they have no confidence in the country's electoral processes.

One of the BVR machines ...
One of the BVR machines ...

​The second phase of the BVR scheme starts on October 29th, three months before ZEC wraps up the program ahead of the 2018 general elections.

ZEC expects to register seven million potential voters by January next year, a figure critics say it's too ambitious for a nation like Zimbabwe.

ZEC commissioner, Qhubani Moyo, told VOA Studio 7’s Ntungamili Nkomo that “the Commission so far has registered over a million potential voters in the first phase of the voter registration (exercise) which is a very impressive figure by any measure of standards.

“So far it means that we have registered about 15 percent of the entire population and if we proceed in this trajectory we are likely to achieve over 80 percent of registration by the time we finish by December or January or thereabout. Eighty percent is a very acceptable figure internationally for voter registration. So, we are very, very much happy.”

Starting Wednesday, ZEC will start removing BVR equipment from areas designated as BVR blitz locations and relocate to other places for the second phase of the program.

Moyo said voter education outreach programs are currently underway in the targeted areas.

The Biometric Voter Registration exercise started in Harare on September 15
The Biometric Voter Registration exercise started in Harare on September 15

He said people who have failed to register under phase one of the BVR blitz were expected to continue doing so at district offices throughout the country.

“We are not closing voter registration in the areas that we have passed through. We are just concentrating our campaign in new areas.

Moyo also noted that voter registration would continue in the run up to the general elections.

“We will continue open for continuous registration until 12 days after proclamation of elections by the president. So, whoever misses it now can do it at our district offices or still do it in areas that are in phase two …”

Zimbabweans have over the years questioned the credibility of old voters’ roll, saying it contained ghost voters.