$8,2 billion set aside for by-elections, registration blitz

A combined $8,2 billion has been set aside for the mobile voter registration and delimitation blitz, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chief elections officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana, has said.

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, Mr Silaigwana said the commission presented an estimated budget of $4,5 billion for the mobile voter registration exercise which the treasury has already started funding, while the estimated budget for the by-elections is $3,7 billion.

The mobile voter registration exercise for the impending delimitation exercise, which was initially pencilled for early December last year will commence today and will be carried out in two phases.

Phase one will run from today up to February 28, while phase two will be conducted from April 11 to 30, 2022.

“Note that the commission has established 210 voter registration teams to cater for the 210 constituencies in addition to the 63 district offices and 10 provincial office centres.

“These teams will be mobile and will be deployed at the advertised registration centres for periods ranging from 1-3 days before moving on to the next registration centre within the constituencies,” said Mr Silaigwana.

The teams, he said, are expected to cover a combined total of 2 723 centres during the first phase.

This, Mr Silaigwana said, has been done to ensure that the commission registers as many potential voters as possible by bringing the voter registration centres closer to the people.

He said voter education teams who have been deployed in advance will inform prospective registrants on when the registration teams will be in the area and the registration centres where the teams will be operating from.

“Members of the public are urged to be on the lookout for these voter educators for the information. Members of the public are also urged to listen for information on radio, television, ZEC social media platforms as these will also be used as mediums to dispatch information on the mobile voter registration exercise.”

He clarified that the mobile voter registration exercise is not meant for the upcoming by-elections, whose voters roll is already closed, but for the delimitation exercise expected to be conducted after the national population census.

He urged members of the public who have been registered before under the Biometric Voter Registration exercise, not to register again since their names are already on the voters roll.

If one is not sure of their registration status, they can check online on the commission’s website, he said.

On those intending to transfer, Mr Silaigwana said they should inform the voter registration officer of their intention rather than registering anew.

He advised civil organisations and political parties to desist from giving registration incentives as this may entice those already on the voters roll to register multiple times.

For one to qualify for registration, they must be a Zimbabwean citizen, over the age of 18 years, and be resident in any ward and produce proof of such residence.

They must also present the registration officer with the proof of residence and national identity card.

He said preliminaries for the voter registration exercise such as the acquisition of additional personnel, training of voter educators and voter registration officers have been completed.

The deployment of personnel and equipment is underway.

The commission, he said, has recruited 1 885 voter education and voter registration personnel.

However, Mr Silaigwana said incessant rains, which have caused flooding in the low- lying areas present a potential challenge for personnel and equipment deployment in certain areas.

Turning to the impending by-elections, he said preparations were on course for the holding of the by-elections on March 26.

The commission has already set up an Observers Committee in line with the provisions of the law. Accreditation centres will be set up throughout the country depending on the applications received and the location of observers.

Currently, he said an accreditation centre has been set up in Harare at Belvedere Teachers College and St Patrick’s Hotel in Bulawayo.

ZEC has already set up a media monitoring committee. Herald.

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