Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz has been running since last week and will be running through to the 28th of February.
The exercise by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was postponed from December last year after a documentation crisis at the Registrar General’s office was highlighted by independent players, as scores of citizens were failing to access national identifications.
It is surprising, for those who were paying attention, to note that ZEC Chief Elections Officer, Utoile Silaigwana was quoted in the local media underlining that the commission was disturbed by the low turnout of voters during the first week of the blitz.
After running a sloppy awareness campaign on the registration exercise, of cause, the numbers will not be that impressive.
The commission has been facing a myriad of problems at the registration centers, particularly in remote areas where some of the hosting schools and institutions were not even aware that ZEC was coming on a particular day for voter registration.
In some areas, blitz dates were changed and the communities were not alerted on the changes and the newly proposed dates, while other areas lost the privilege of registration as the registration officials would operate for just one day on the specific center.
The heavy rains in some parts of the country also worsen the situation, with some registrants turning away as they only realized upon arrival at the registration center that an affidavit or proof of residence was a requirement.
These challenges, coupled with a lack of proper communication and awareness-raising will prove difficult for the commission to run a successful voter registration blitz in the stipulated period.
ZEC must ramp up its awareness campaign and make sure the communities are fully aware of the registration exercise, the centers, and the dates for full swing citizen participation.