ERC sounds alarm over lack of interest in voter registration

HARARE – The Election Resource Centre (ERC) has sounded the alarm over the lukewarm response to the ongoing voter registration exercise after it conducted what it called “pit stops” for motorists in Harare.

Volunteers from the ERC, which campaigns for free and fair elections, held placards at traffic-controlled intersections in Harare raising awareness about voter registration.

Briefing the media, activists said they observed that fewer women were willing to stop and engage them compared to men.

Charity Chaturuka, one of the volunteers involved in the election education said the women she interacted with showed lack of “interest” and “enthusiasm” in electoral politics.

“Women are really not interested in things to do with elections, it was really worrying. Throughout the exercise, men showed more interest in asking election-related questions,” Chaturuka said.

“Only a few women stopped and asked questions, or accepted fliers.”

Chaturuka added that more was needed to be done on voter education that promotes women to participate in election processes.

In the 2018 elections, women contributed 54 percent of the 5,695,706 registered voters.

Concerns were however raised over the low turnout by women during the vote.

ERC’s programmes officer Rudo Motsi said: “We engaged volunteers to raise awareness on election-related issues because citizens are central to the election cycle and there is a need to create platforms for their participation.”

Hudson Pikira, another ERC volunteer, said during the voter education exercise citizens expressed mixed feelings.

He explained: “In the pitstop election education exercise, we were conscientising citizens about the importance of voting in by-elections and the 2023 elections.

“Some citizens were keen to understand election related issues while some displayed lack of interest in the exercise. Nonetheless, it is important that citizens are informed about their democratic right to vote.”

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