By Daniel Chigundu
NATIONAL Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) current convenor Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to encourage Bulawayo youths to register and vote in the coming general elections.
Zimbabwe is set to hold general elections in 2018 and political parties are currently urging their supporters to register when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) embark on its topical Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise in the coming weeks.
Tsvangirai who recently held a well attended rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru is the main speaker at the NERA Youth Forum scheduled for the White City Stadium in Bulawayo on the 17th of June.
In his previous but similar meetings in Chitungwiza and Chinhoyi, the MDC-T leader has spoken about electoral reforms before the country hold the watershed polls.
“Before we talk of anything, our people have two aspirations, the first one is that we must unite and fight for reforms. We cannot go for elections with our people having doubts on whether we are going to change things or not.
“On reforms what is needed is to ensure administration of elections is free and fair, I am referring to ZEC here. ZEC is a referee, but if you have a referee who throws away the whistle and decides to join the other team, he ceases to be a referee.
“If you don’t become an impartial referee, then you are creating conditions for violence, because we are not going to stand and watch while we are being rigged from head to bottom,” said Tsvangirai in Chinhoyi.
Meanwhile, with voter registration expected to commence soon, unconfirmed reports from ZEC indicate that the elections board has set about 9375 registration centres to be used during the BVR exercise.
The centres are divided among the country’s 10 provinces as follows Mashonaland Central 822, Mashonaland East 1200, Harare 700, Mash West 1303, Manicaland 1003, Masvingo 1238, Midlands 1348, Matabeleland South 623, Bulawayo 392 and Matabeleland North 746.
ZEC is compiling a fresh voters’ roll that will enable polling station based voting as compared to the current ward-based voting.