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» » Voter registration exercise must begin now



The credibility of any democratic electoral process depends on its openness and the degree to which all eligible people are able to participate in it. As the country hurtles towards the crucial 2018 general election, it is important that political parties, civil society and the media work hard to ensure that as many people as possible get a chance to cast their ballots. However, that can only be achieved if all potential voters are given ample time to register because without registering, one cannot vote. We are therefore surprised that there seems to be no concern that the voter registration exercise has not yet begun though we could just be six months away from the election (remember there have been hints of an early election). It is in light of this that we feel the voter registration exercise must begin now so as to avoid disenfranchisement of any section of the electorate. In 2013, there were widespread allegations that the government denied many people the right to vote by allocating fewer registration resources to perceived opposition strongholds especially urban areas. It is therefore imperative for opposition political parties and pro-democracy movements to push for the immediate opening of voter registration or else there will not be enough time for everybody to register and the horrible 2013 will repeat herself. People in urban areas will be the most disadvantaged by a short registration timeframe because of their work commitments that may leave them very little or no time at all to spare for such exercises. Opening the voter registration now will also give the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) some time to assess the reliability of the new system known as BVR. If this system is not put to test early, the country would be in for a big shock if that system proves to be 'unreliable' at the last minute. That would mean reverting to the old discredited Tobaiwa Mudede voters roll, with all its ghost voters. We put 'unreliable' in quotes to highlight the fact that we are fully conscious of the implication of that word in light our Machiavellian politics that will most likely undermine that registration system if it is deemed to be a threat to the ruling party.comment

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