Electoral watchdogs have expressed concern over the low number of registered voters in spite of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducting a voter registration blitz recently.
On Tuesday, ZEC released a statement stating that as of 10 June, the country’s registered voters numbered 5 804 975, a 2% increase from 5 695 706 in 2018.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) chairperson Andrew Makoni implored ZEC to find ways to encourage the youth to register to vote. Makoni said:
It’s shocking that the registration blitzes that were done by ZEC have not achieved the desired results.
The commission needs to go back to the drawing board and devise campaigns which can encourage youths to participate in electoral processes assuming that they constitute a large number of potential voters.
Remember, ZEC is targeting at least two million new youthful voters. It appears elections don’t mean anything to our youths and it must be established why.
Elections have not changed anything or transformed their lives. Our successive governments have not delivered and the youth are expressing their displeasure through apathy. As stakeholders, we must address the root cause of this.
Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust director Ignatius Sadziwa urged ZEC to conduct another mobile voter registration blitz to ensure that more people are registered. He said:
Our greatest undoing has been an indifferent youth population which is not forthcoming. Unfortunately, this is the biggest demographic group.
There is a need for another round of a voter registration blitz and hopefully, there will be improved service delivery from ZEC.
Previous exercises were marred by a lot of irregularities. It’s also incumbent upon civil society to complement ZEC’s efforts.
Meanwhile, ZEC spokesperson Jasper Mangwana on Wednesday told NewsDay that the commission would consider conducting another voter registration blitz before the polls.