Opposition parties say Zimbabweans should register under the Biometric Voter Registration exercise launched Thursday by President Robert Mugabe.
All formations of the Movement for Democratic Change and several opposition parties said registering to vote in the country’s new voters’ register would pave the way for the creation of a democratic state in Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube read in part, “… MDC would like to urge every party member, supporter, individual and every citizen above the age of 18 years to go and register from today onwards at their nearest registration centre.
“Regardless of whether one has participated in previous elections, the new voters’ roll requires everyone to register anew so as to qualify to vote in 2018. As per the demand by the new Constitution adopted in 2013, a new voters’ roll is being adopted following the scrapping of the old one after revelations it was riddled with ghost voters, lacked transparency and accuracy, making it a hotbed for massive Zanu PF rigging.”
The party noted that people who are Zimbabwean citizens, are 18 years old and above, have a metal or plastic ID or valid passport and proof of residence, are all eligible to register under the BVR.
“We would further like to urge those without identity documents including the so called ‘aliens’ and the Gukurahundi victims to take advantage of the current ID and birth certificates mobile registration process carried out across the country to acquire IDs.
“Note, those without proof of residence can acquire an affidavit from the registering officer at the polling station where they will be advised accordingly on how to complete it. The newly adopted Biometric Voter Registration system will capture your fingerprint and facial features as part of identification.”
President Mugabe was the first to register at State House followed by his wife, Grace, and several state and ruling Zanu PF officials.
Some opposition leaders and their supporters registered at the Harare International Centre though they were complaining about lack of transparency in the BVR process.
Opposition parties argue that Zimbabwe has not secured the required 3,200 BVR kits and servers needed to store the collected voters’ information, adding that this may be tempered with resulting in the conduction of fraudulent elections next year.
The opposition has noted that children turning 18 after January 15 next year won’t be able to vote in the next elections as the voters’ roll will be closed for the elections expected to be conducted in July 2017.
The MDC-T is challenging President Mugabe’s proclamation in court.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is expected in the next four months to register at least 7 million voters using the new system widely criticized by the opposition parties and other stakeholders.