The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) congratulates the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for rolling out the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz which started today. ZPP welcomes the fact that the registration form is disability sensitive as it seeks to know if the voter is visually impaired or has hearing impairment.
ZPP has noted though with concern that there has not been adequate voter education resulting in some centres being deserted for hours. Some people thought they were supposed to do voter inspection of the voters’ roll and not BVR. This is evidenced by the large number of people who left registration centres without completing the process for lack of acceptable identification. Another issue of concern is the proof of residence which is proving to be problematic.
While ZEC is distributing VR-9 forms for free, in some areas in particular Mutoko at Corner Store and Chipinge South ward 24 traditional leaders are writing proof of residence letters for a fee ranging from $0.20 to $1. Citizens are also finding it cumbersome to raise money to pay Commissioners’ of Oaths.
The paying for certification of documents by a Commissioner of Oaths is standard practice, however for the voter registration process citizens had not been informed of that requirement. In places where a Commissioner of Oaths is not at the registration centre people are forced to either approach school heads or police stations for this purpose. ZPP is also concerned about the disruption of work in schools during examinations when people approach school heads to sign their affidavits for the BVR process.
ZPP also noted that there was a dispute in Chimanimani West at Mashonjowa Primary school where it was not clear if acceptable proof of residence letters should be signed by the village head or the headman.
ZPP implores ZEC to ensure that education on the BVR is intensified. ZEC also needs to make a clear pronouncement on the monies citizens are being made to pay by traditional leaders to sign proof of residence letters as this might create unnecessary apathy as most people do not have the money.
ZPP is a Non Governmental Organization that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace-building initiatives.
ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crises. In particular, ZPP seeks to monitor and document incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.
If you feel that your rights have been violated and in particular during the BVR exercise, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 Toll Free: 080 80199