By Watmore Makokoba
Civic society organisations (CSOs) have castigated political parties that are issuing pre-filled affidavits, adding that it is an unlawful development meant to interfere with the on-going biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise.
People intending to register under the new system are required to provide proof of residence which has proved to be difficult for many people who are resorting to using VR9 Form or affidavits.
In an effort to make life easier for the potential voters, some prospective candidates and political parties have been dishing out the pre-filled affidavits and demanding serial numbers of registration certificates.
Addressing the media recently, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) board chairperson Andrew Makoni said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) must investigate those issues and bring the culprits to book, adding that the pre-filled affidavits violate the Section 8 of the Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act (Chapter 7:09).
“Thus ZESN is concerned by this practice which has fuelled intimidation of registrants who are given the pre-filled affidavits on condition that after registering they submit serial numbers on their registration slips.
“These disturbing reports of pre-filled affidavits need to be investigated by the ZEC and the ZHRC and corrective action taken against offenders,
“It is critical that all potential registrants freely register in this important exercise,” he said.
This outcry is a result of what Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), the Elections Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) among others observed across the country during the BVR blitz.
Makoni also criticised intimidation of observers with reports saying some were actually denied access to registration centres in such places as Chipinge, Epworth, Zvishavane, Mwenezi and Bulilima among others.
Speaking at the same occasion, ZimRights director Okay Machisa urged registrants to ensure they know their polling stations to avoid being given wrong voting places for the 2018 elections which are going to be polling-station based.
“…there are incidences where people are posted in the wrong ward or constituency, or polling station. There is need to educate people that over and above identity documents, they need to know their nearest polling station,” he said.