BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
VILLAGERS in Lupane district, Matabeleland North province, have called on authorities to set up more voter registration centres as they have to walk long distances of up to 30km to the nearest centre.
Resultantly, most of the villagers abandon the idea of getting registered to exercise their right to vote.
“We do want to vote, but we are limited by the distances we have to travel to register because some people stay 100km away from the centre. People need to take a bus to go to the registration centre, and some don’t have the money,” Methembe Zikhali, a villager, told Southern Eye.
“Some are walking 30km just to register, and the majority of people end up giving up. The elderly are the most affected because they are not able to walk such long distances.
“There is only one registration centre in Lupane and people struggle to get services when they get there. Action needs to be taken as we get closer to the elections.”
Nobubelo Sibanda said: “We appeal to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to improve their services because this is the challenge that we always face during elections, and it’s not being addressed. It is our right to vote, and centres should be accessible.”
Zec spokesperson Joyce Kazembe confirmed that some registration centres are far from the people.
She said measures would be taken to ensure that the registration centres were accessible to everyone.
“We are very much aware of their situation, and we understand because most of the centres are far away from where people stay. We are going to be deploying registration booths in each and every village, which will allow people to register. Our Zec staff will be moving around to where people stay to register them,” Kazembe said.
“The reason we haven’t started this blitz yet is because we are waiting for the Registrar-General’s Office to issue out national identity cards to people first, including young people. We urge those who are staying near the registration centres to go and register. People have been showing up, and we encourage them to continue registering to vote.”