Treasury releases Us$7,9m for bvr

Treasury has released US$7,9 million for extended Biometric Voter Registration, with a comprehensive voters’ roll expected within five months.

This, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, indicates democracy and that the 2018 harmonised elections will be free and fair.

The mop-up exercise begins tomorrow, ending on February 8.

BVR ran from October 10 to December 19, 2017; managing to attain 4,8 million prospective voters.

Harare has 746 173 voters, Midlands 658 701, Manicaland 651 483, Mashonaland East 551 390, Masvingo 543 484, Mashonaland West 520 750, Mashonaland Central 480 072, Matabeleland North 299 122, Bulawayo 214 620 and Matabeleland South 213 697.

Zec is extending registration on the back of a November 2017 High Court ruling that all “aliens” have a right to register to vote if they prove that one of their parents was born in Southern Africa.

A Harare resident and two political parties had petitioned the court over “aliens” who lacked requisite documentation and were thus denied registration.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, acting Zec chairperson Mr Emmanuel Magade said: “Our budget for the exercise is US$7,9 million. We asked Treasury to avail us that much and that request was wholly met. What this shows is that Government is fully committed to the electoral process and I have no doubt that Zec will be able to deliver a free and fair election.

“The highest authority in the land, the President, wants us to have a free and fair election, so does the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Finance, who is bankrolling this programme, wants the same.”

He also said: “In terms of the law, we are supposed to continue voter registration at static centres. We will only stop registering 12 days after the Nomination Court sitting; in other words, after candidate nomination.

“Once we have concluded the mop-up in February, we will start what we call de-duplication, the idea being to ascertain whether or not there was multiple registration. This process will lead us to compilation of a voters’ registration roll. We expect that by end of March we will have a provisional voters’ registration roll.

“From there, we will open the roll to members of the public so that they have an opportunity to correct any mistakes or anomalies that would have emerged during registration. Thereafter, we will be able to compile a final voters’ registration roll and we expect this to be at the end of April or early May.”

Mr Magade said the mop-up is mainly targeting “aliens” and other groups that failed to register in regular time.

“We want to register as many people as possible, but our primary target at this stage are aliens or non-citizens, young people who got their national identification cards after Phase Four of BVR had closed and those who had no opportunity to register.

“Previously, if non-citizens wanted to register, we would refer them to the Registrar-General’s Office to regularise their papers, but the High Court judgment made it possible for them to register easily.

“However, we were already on the verge of finishing the last phase. So, we will prioritise areas such as farms and mines; and urban centres such as Mbare, Mufakose, Dzivarasekwa and other high-density areas countrywide.”

He continued: “A figure of 4,8 million which we have attained so far is very good. In any case, by international standards, it is a very good figure. Historically, we have never had voters exceeding a combined figure of 3,3 million. I think the highest we have had is 3,3 million in 2013.

“If we are to register about 5,5 million for the 2018 elections, then we will be on the right course. We had initially targeted registering 7,2 million people, but revised the figure as it was based on ZimStat projections that the voting population would have reached seven million by December 2018. However, it is unrealistic and extravagantly ambitious.”

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