Zimbabwe: Political Parties Call for the Extension of Voter Registration

POLITICAL parties Saturday held a high level meeting in Harare and resolved that the on-going biometric voter registration be extended countrywide by at least two months.

The meeting came just a day after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau’s resignation. Makarau had been under immense pressure from the opposition to make electoral reforms before next year’s election.

Present as the meeting were MDC-T, MDC and Zanu PF representatives as well as officials from ZEC.

“We resolved that voter registration be extended in all provinces by two months. The state welfare benefits like fertilizer must not be denied on the basis of political affiliation or failure to provide voter registration slips,” read a statement from the meeting.

During former President Robert Mugabe’s reign, some members of the opposition were routinely subjected to intimidation and harassment by Zanu PF youths.

On Saturday, the parties directed the Registrar Generals office to synchronize its activities with ZEC regarding the issuing of birth certificates and national identity cards in all areas free of charge.

Zanu PF was ordered to record serial numbers of its members at its offices only to avoid chaos and violence as has been the case during the last few months.

It was also agreed that special voter registration documentation be availed by ZEC with voter registration agents being accredited free of charge.

ZEC is now in its fourth and final phase of the exercise which is expected to end on December 19.

As at Saturday, 3.8 million people had registered to vote and the number was expected to increase with aliens also rushing to register and exercise their right to vote after Zec had previously barred them.

A High Court order allowed aliens to register and vote in a milestone ruling made last month.

Sunday the political platform was expected to be in Masvingo to meet with Masvingo and Manicaland representatives. It is being led by MDC Alliance legal chairman Douglas Mwonzora.