Wednesday, 9 March 2022


ONLY about 3 600 voters in Matabeleland South Province were registered to vote during the just-ended Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz.

Lack of sufficient information on the voter registration and identity documents as well as general voter apathy in general has been cited as among the reasons for the low numbers.

It has been previously reported that Matabeleland region has the least number of registered voters countrywide, a development that could eventually result in the loss of constituencies ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections if the trend doesn’t change.

According to statistics released by Zec recently, Bulawayo has the lowest number of registered voters with 254 630 followed by Matabeleland South with 259 689 registered voters and Matabeleland North standing at 335 851.

The region, which is least represented in Parliament, has 38 parliamentary seats out of 210 constituencies. Bulawayo has 12, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North each have 13.

The remainder of the seats are spread across the seven other provinces outside the Matabeleland region. Matabeleland South provincial elections officer Mr Rabson Nyoni said the low numbers presented a challenge for the province.

“About 3 600 voters were registered in Matabeleland South Province and that’s about what we registered last time. The numbers are really low and they don’t assist in addressing the kind of challenges we’re seeking to address at the moment in terms of the requirements of delimitation.

We would have expected to have more numbers from our people but unfortunately, we didn’t get the numbers,” said Mr Nyoni.

Turning to the next voter registration blitz in April, Mr Nyoni said efforts will be made to engage stakeholders so that more people are deployed on the ground to assist with voter registration.

“We need to motivate our people because the youths in particular don’t seem to understand how voter registration works to address some of their needs.

At times you get to a community and find a youth making a comment like ‘ngiyabakhawulisa’. They think there is someone they are fixing, but we’re trying to educate them so that they realise they’re also being disadvantaged by not registering to vote.

They think they’re disadvantageous to some other people yet they’re also disadvantageous to themselves. We’re getting into the second phase of the voter registration exercise aware of this and we’ll try to capacitate our voter educators to convince the constituents of the youth to come forward and register to vote,” said Mr Nyoni.

He said organisations that deal with the youths would also be roped in to help increase the numbers. “It’s mostly the youth who are not coming forward to register to vote and we need to change this,” said Mr Nyoni.

Commenting on voter apathy, political analyst Mr Tedious Ncube said the trend was reflective of a much bigger problem.

“Voter registration is not a regional project, it is a national project. However, voter registration in Matabeleland becomes key in that it will actively mobilise people to take part in decision making.

Of late we have witnessed apathy in terms of voter registration, which is reflective of a much bigger problem. The much bigger problem in this case is participation in politics, the economy and every facet of our political, social and economic system,” said Mr Ncube.

He said if people can be mobilised to register to vote, there’s a likelihood that they may be interested in participating in the economy and political processes.

“If we can succeed in getting people to register to vote, it may be the starting point of getting everyone to participate because once people are interested in voting, there’s a likelihood that they may be interested in participating in the economy and political processes.

Of late, we’ve seen that in terms of Zec figures, Matabeleland is lagging behind. That apathy may be true even in other instances,” said Mr Ncube. The mobile voter registration is being rolled out in two phases — February 1 to 28 and April 11 to 30.

The exercise is also expected to give members of the public an opportunity to inspect the voters’ roll.  Chronicle


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