The controversial decision to suspend mobile voter registration has been viewed by observers as evidence that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is “captured” by the ruling Zanu PF.
This comes after ZEC suspended the voter registration blitz that was scheduled for December 6 citing the need to consult all stakeholders that include people who do not have national identity cards.
“After consultations with other players in voter registration, the mobile voter registration exercise penciled for 06 December 2021 has been postponed to February 2022. The need to uphold inclusivity, which is one of the Commission’s core values, has necessitated this postponement,” read the statement.
“The deferment is meant to allow all eligible stakeholders to acquire national identity cards, which are requisite for voter registration.”
Political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya urged opposition parties to institute measures of resisting ‘Zanu PF’ s capture of ZEC’.
“Zimbabwe’s opposition parties should raise their technical political and electoral game against Zanu PF and its systems and institutions such as @ZECzim. There is little technical attention and contestations around the menu of electoral manipulation under @ZECzim yet this is key,” Ruhanya wrote on his Twitter handle.
“Look at the reasons given by @ZECzim for postponement of the voter registration. How and where did it consult these ple who want National Identity Cards? Did @ZECzim encounter people who wanted to register to vote without IDS? And why prejudice those with IDs who want to register
“There is no chicanery and electoral manipulation that beats this. Look at the reasons given by @ZECzim for abandoning voter registration. There is no transparency and accountability by ZEC. This body is the source of electoral disputes in Zimbabwe.”
Former cabinet Minister Jonathan Moyo concurred with Ruhanya arguing opposition parties needed to come up with strategies to counter the alleged manipulation of ZEC by Zanu PF.
“Sad truth indeed @PedzisaiRuhanya, this is one of the major points that @DrNkosana made on @daddyhope’s Twitter Spaces the other day: it is self defeating for the opposition to expect to be done favours by Zanu PF; it’s the opposition that must do things or cause them to happen!” he said.
The suspension of the online voter registration platform came at a time when main opposition MDC Alliance had already deployed its senior leaders to mobilise people especially the youth to register to vote ahead of 2023 elections and the by-elections set for the first quarter of 2022.
MDC Alliance said the decision was “a calculated move to disenfranchise first time voters who planned to register during the holidays.
“We’re greatly concerned at the postponement of the voter registration blitz by ZEC. The exercise which was set to begin on 06/12/2021 was an opportunity for unregistered citizens to exercise their constitutional right. We continue to urge citizens to register.” Nehanda Radio