Poor voter registration in MDC-T strongholds dampen hope

By Wisdom Mumera

MDC-T faces a daunting task to regain its foothold in the coming elections following interim voter registration statistics released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) showed low turnout in its strongholds.

Voter registration numbers in regions which the opposition has traditionally done well are just above 50% at a time projected estimates for an opposition win in 2018 require nearly 2 million new voters.

Statistics for Harare are at an uninspiring 733,778 while for Bulawayo stand at 206,124 against a ZESN projected target of 1,345,818 and 409, 389 respectively and at a time when registration for 2018 elections has only a few months left.

However, all hope is not lost as another MDC-T stronghold Manicaland has so far exhibited a positive swing for the opposition with 640,591 people registering for the all-important election.

The contrast with some Zanu PF strongholds is stark and reveals an unsettling scenario of voter weariness for the opposition whilst ruling party supporters are experiencing a reawakening in the aftermath of Mugabe’s deposition.

Zanu PF strongholds such as Mashonaland Central and East are both registering positive numbers with 74% for the former and 72% for the latter.

Midlands with 644,913 registered voters have now reached 77% though the numbers are still below projections which expected 397,689 women and 467,496 men to have registered by 19 December.

The total registration turnout is however not negative with a 65% turnout after 4,727,376 people registered against a projection of 7,224,128.

After the hiccup of the removal of Mugabe which stoked rumours of election ban, people have begun trickling back to register as incumbent President Mnangagwa has promised that elections will go on as scheduled.

Former ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau had hinted to the fact that the registration deadline might be extended after the December 19 deadline.

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