ERC, ZimRights Counter Voter Registration Challenges
In a bid to facilitate near real time remedies on electoral processes, the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration process and during elections, Election Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) have established national situation rooms in Harare and Bulawayo.
The situation room, which is part of the monitoring and observation strategy, intends instantly raise any queries with the authorities and to date 27 out of 421 issues were escalated or referred to relevant authorities especially the election management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the human rights body, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights).
“The monitoring and observation strategy employed by the ERC endeavors to facilitate near real time remedies to issues raised by citizens and other election stakeholders. Towards meeting this endeavor, the ERC and Zimrights set up a situation room comprising of a call centre and a citizen justice desk,” the ERC said in its BVR phase two report.
The report is titled Zimbabwe Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) Phase 2 Implementation Report: Strengthening Oversight in Electoral Processes.
Phase 2 of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise implemented by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) ahead of harmonized elections expected mid-2018 ended on the 13th of November 2017. The BVR continuous exercise was launched in 63 districts on 18 September 2017. A blitz program to register more Zimbabweans was launched on 10 October 2017. The blitz is being implemented in four phases ending on the 19th of December 2017.
According to the report the two organisations have raised the issue of ten aliens with ZEC and they have been assisted.
“One case of Brenda Madziva from Sesame Constituency in Gokwe was resolved by ZEC and the citizen was registered after she acquired an identity document from the registrar’s office,” reads part of the report.
In the report the organisation urged the office of the Registrar General to decentralize the issuance of new identity documents to aliens.
“The Registrar General should decentralize the issuance of new identity documents to aliens. Additionally, they must rapidly issue documents to those who have applied,” reads part of the report.
Some of the recorded issues according to the report are political intimidation of villagers by village heads, shortage of VR. 9 and VR.1 forms, ZEC officials turning away potential registrants as early as 1300hrs, turned away potential registrants on the basis that they are aliens, harassment and intimidation of vendors wearing ERC t-shirts written “Register, Elect, Engage” and turned away potential registrants on the basis that they are aliens.