BVR Mop-Up exercise: irregularities hamper progress

By Pretty Chavango

Election Resource Centre (ERC) says while the biometric voter registration mop-Up exercise is a noble idea the process is however marred in a lot irregularities.

ERC pointed out some of the irregularities that include failure by ZEC to timeously release a list of voter registration centres to ensure effective participation by citizens from an informed position.

The Mop-Up exercise started on January 10 and will close on February 8, 2018 to enable ZEC ample time to compile data for voter inspection.

Addressing the media at a press conference, ERC executive director Tawanda Chimhini said while the idea was commendable, the exercise was hurried and there was no preparation.

“The exercise was launched before the completion of adequate preparations, procedures and communication,” he said.

The Mop-Up exercise seeks to make up for the low turnout for registration as well as include those who were left out during the initial phases of the process, among them ‘aliens’.

However, ERC noted that requirements for former “aliens” have not been adequately published and publicized for ease of participation by the vulnerable group.

The ERC further points out that although a provision was put in place for ‘aliens’, their inclusion was still limited.

“Although ‘aliens’ reside across the country, ZEC set up 2 850 mobile centres out of over 9 500 polling stations.

“Voter education and voter information for voter registration remains largely inadequate as witnessed by low uptake of the BVR exercise particularly in Harare and Bulawayo.

“There is lack of information on whether mechanisms were established by ZEC to ensure effective participation by marginalized groups of aliens, women, youth and persons with disabilities in the mop up exercise,” said Chimhini.

The ERC boss also said he was concerned that despite the Electoral Act not aligned to the constitution, critical electoral processes continue to be administered against such a backdrop.

Opposition parties in the country have been trying to lobby for electoral reforms under the banner of NERA, but their efforts have not yielded much result.

Civic society organisations including ERC have also been trying to engage ZEC over reforms but there has been little movement towards the desired result.

Meanwhile, ERC has since called upon ZEC to immediately propose the necessary reforms in particular alignment of electoral laws with the constitution of Zimbabwe, including but not limited to ensuring independence of ZEC, extending the right to vote to all eligible Zimbabweans.

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