BVR registration: people raise concerns

Watmore Makokoba 

The Registrar General’s office on September 4, 2017, launched a nationwide mobile exercise for people to acquire identity documents (IDs), death certificates and birth certificates. The process will last three months.

The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) has also commenced a mobile Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) process, which will run from September 18, 2017, to January 15, ahead of 2018 harmonized elections.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) currently doing a nationwide campaign mobilizing people to register to vote has reported that are many inconsistencies and inconveniences that are hampering the registration process.

There are widespread concerns from urban areas on the inadequacy of registration centres particularity Harare which only has two against a population of more than 1.5 million people.

“How can they allocate only two registration centres for a largely populated area like Harare” quizzed Memory Chaya from Warren park suburbs.

The mobile units which have been set up by the Registrar’s office are not being effective. My son went to acquire his national ID last weekend Thursday and finally collected it this week on Tuesday after a series of trips. This happened at Chitungwiza council head office. They are taking days to issue these documents,

“The other thing is they are issuing temporary paper IDs and you have to go to the Registrar’s office to obtain the plastic ID”, said Christopher Chipembere from Chitungwiza.

In the same area, another resident said he was taken aback after he found out that the issuance and replacement of Identification documents were not for free as announced by the Zimbabwe Elections Commission.

“I went to the Municipal Head Office yesterday and the Registrar General’s staff at the reception told me there were not issuing IDs or birth certificates and other documents for free as reported in the press since they have not received any official communication to that effect”, he said.

ZimRights also noted that yesterday registration started on a very low note in Gwanda.

“The first person got to the centre at 11:48 am and was through at 12: 00 pm it took her 12 minutes to finish. By 12:50 pm only 6 people had registered,

“At the registry, there is a feeling that citizens are not coming in good numbers despite the reduction of distances

On the same day, Chipinge is said to have had a low turnout as people shunned the registration centre, one resident cited lack of voter education and awareness as the cause for the low turnout.

“There is the need for vigorous voter education. I went to the registration centre at 11:00 am at Chipinge Government complex. There was no one at the centre. Three people came after me”, she said.

Buhera South, Ward 33,  people complained that the current mobile national identification cards registration by the team from the Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede’s office has left them with a lot of unanswered questions.

“Our ward was not allocated a centre according to the Buhera District registry’s mobile registration 2017 itinerary.

“But after visiting the sub-office at Birchenough Bridge, I learnt that the office was only open for the issuing of death certificates,

“I talked to one of the officials who told me that they will resume the issuance of births and identity cards in December,

We feel disenfranchised from this national exercise especially the issue of obtaining free births and identity cards.  Most people could not afford the transport charges to the centres with such services

“The private transporters here are charging unaffordable fares given the ugly state of our gravel roads”, he said.

Ekusileni Hospital Tent Ward 4 in Bulawayo residents expressed dismay at the slow pace at which registration is taking place.

“Now I am a registered voter, but the process is very low. By 1:00 pm they had registered 60 people.  I went without proof of residence, filled in the VR 9 form and the commissioner stamped it and I registered”, said Justice Mkucha.

According to the constitution, every citizen has an obligation to choose a government by voting which entails that voting is a right that government must facilitate effectively.

 

 

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