The Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should immediately recall a draft statutory instrument that will make it mandatory for all prospective voters to produce proof of residence.
In a statement, the MDC-T said, “It is a fact that the majority of urban dwellers are lodgers and tenants who will not easily have access to proof of residence such as utility bills … For the record, the MDC would like to state that it is one of the several stakeholders that strenuously argued against the planned move to make it mandatory for people to produce written proof of residence before they can be permitted to register as voters.
“In fact, the party wrote a letter to the ZEC chairperson, Rita Makarau, on April 20, 2017, making our party position on this crucial issue abundantly clear. We advocate for a system whereby people must be allowed to register as voters as long as they can affirm their places of residence during the voter registration exercise.”
The party claimed that the ruling Zanu PF party is already sensing a crushing and humiliating defeat in next year’s elections and as a result it is trying to influence ZEC to make it extremely difficult for most people to register to vote.
“It is trite that dictatorships thrive on voter apathy as well as on voter demotivation and intimidation. The MDC will not allow ZEC to unconstitutionally usurp the right of all eligible Zimbabweans to register as voters.”
The MDC-T urged all Zimbabweans, especially the youth, to register to vote in the next elections.
The party noted that “a democratic, free and fair election entails that all eligible voters, without exception, are not deliberately and/or unnecessarily disenfranchised through a cumbersome and difficult process of registering as voters.”
In terms of the Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations, 2017, Section 5 stipulates that for the purposes of registering as a voter, a voter shall be required to provide a residential address to be filled in on the claim form for registration and affirm, before the voter registration officer that he or she resides at the address given, or the address so given is the intended address to be used by the voter for purposes of registration.