The Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) national blitz recorded 73 percent success and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is now preparing for a de-duplication exercise to weed out multiple registrations ahead of harmonised elections this year.Weeding out multiple registrants will see the electoral body coming up with a credible voters’ roll. The national blitz closes tomorrow, but registration will continue at 63 ZEC static centres countrywide, until 12 days after the nomination court sits. ZEC deputy chairperson Mr Emmanuel Magade yesterday described the national blitz as an “unqualified success.”
He said as of Monday, 5 236 000 people had registered to vote. The figure is almost two million more than the number which voted in the harmonised elections in 2013. “The national average of those who registered is 73 percent of the initial target of seven million which we revised to 5,5 million people after realising that the first figure was ambitious,” Mr Magade said.
“By international standards, this is a high figure. People have responded in their numbers and the people of Zimbabwe responded to our pleas for them to come and register so that they exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
Mr Magade said some provinces had recorded “phenomenal’ figures with Midlands recording 83 percent of the targeted voters. Matabeleland North and Mashonaland Central recorded 81 percent of the targeted voters, while Masvingo recorded 77 percent.
“We are not shutting the door, as registration will continue at our static centres until 12 days after the nomination court has sat that is when we know who the Presidential, National Assembly and local authority candidates are,” Mr Magade said. He said ZEC was now setting its eyes on weeding out multiple registrants as it worked on a credible voters’ role.
“We are moving onto the de-duplication exercise to weed out those, say a person who could have registered in Mutare, Masvingo and Harare,” he said.
“We are not taking any chances as we want to ensure we have a voters roll that is clean, credible and of unquestionable integrity.” Mr Magade said after the cleansing exercise, ZEC would begin compiling a voters’ roll. It will be open for inspection, leading us to the compilation of a final voters roll,” he said. “After that we will then wait for the presidential proclamation on nomination court and date of election. Asked on their timelines, he said: “I would surmise that elections will be held by July 21.”
The electoral body is crafting a new biometric voters’ roll for the polls, which would be polling station based. Voters will cast their ballots at a particular polling station within their wards instead of voting at any centre in the same area. This will curb double voting, voting by ineligible people and possible inflation of votes for participating candidates.
ZEC now has the constitutional mandate to register voters, taking over the function from the Registrar General’s Office in line with the dictates of the new Constitution adopted in 2013.