Herentals College boss ‘registers’ students in his constituency
CHIREDZI – Reports are circulating on social media accusing Herentals College proprietor Innocent Benza of busing students from one of his schools in Chiredzi and registering them in Mutasa Central (Manicaland), where he is contesting for a Parliamentary seat in the August 23, 2023, elections.
Benza, who owns Herentals Group of Colleges, is accused of taking students from his college in Chiredzi to register as voters. They will be voting in Mutasa to increase votes in the upcoming elections.
According to an audio circulating in Chiredzi, some disgruntled parents accused Benza of taking their children from his college in Chiredzi to register to vote in the upcoming elections.
Benza is contesting a Zanu PF parliamentary seat in Mutasa Central. According to the audio in the hands of The Mirror, two male voices are complaining that Benza was commandeering students from his college to register as Mutasa residents.
“Herentals boss is taking students from his college in Chiredzi to register as Mutasa Central Ward 14 residents so that they will vote for him in the upcoming elections. That is rigging. Parents should not allow that because if these students encounter an accident, Zanu PF will not do anything,” said the audio, which has been circulating.
All attempts to get a comment from Benza hit a brick as his phone went unanswered, and neither did he respond to the questions left on his mobile phone.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) requires one to produce an affidavit as proof of residence. In this light, Benza might be forging affidavits to register the students.
Chiredzi District ZEC elections officer Hendrina Mukuvare said anybody might register anywhere in the country to vote in the residence of his choice as long as they produce an affidavit which shows the address.
“Anybody can register anywhere. If you are in Chiredzi and voter registration is in Mberengwa, you can register there as long as you produce an affidavit with an address which shows that you are a resident of Chiredzi.
“It’s not our duty as ZEC to ask people why they choose to vote there as long as they produce an affidavit which shows their address,” said Mukuvare.
One of the parents who requested anonymity confirmed to this publication that her child registered to vote in Mutasa Central Constituency.
Benza is not new to this. In 2013, he was also accused of busing students from his colleges from all over Zimbabwe to vote for him in Mutasa when he was contesting the same seat.