Masvingo Residents Bemoan Limited Access To IDs 

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By Clayton Shereni, Masvingo Correspondent

A GROUP of about 20 residents associations has expressed concern over the continued lack of access to national registration documents at the Registry Offices.

They say the impediment is a clear violation of the people’s right to vote in the upcoming by-elections.

Local council and parliamentary by-elections are set for March 26.

There has been a high turnout at many registry offices across the country in recent months as citizens, especially the youths who are now eligible to vote, jostle to get new or replace lost identification documents.

Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance Director Anoziva Muguti, the Residents Association Coalition for Electoral Reforms said the rampant maladministration in issuance IDs hindered the residents’ right to vote.

“Access to national registration documents is fundamental to all citizens of the country and part of the matrix of voter registration hence the inefficiencies and maladministration in the issuance of these documents have a bearing on voter registration and the right to vote in the upcoming by-elections,” he said.

The residents’ grouping also reiterated that there was a need to swiftly improve service delivery at all registry offices to avoid disenfranchising the first-time voters.

“Further, not to improve access to national IDs will prejudice many first time voters, in particular, our youths, women, and people with disabilities in participating in the upcoming elections thereby compromising the credibility of the elections” it further reads.

In Masvingo, the district Registry Office is booking in advance citizens in need of national IDs for March and April as it is overwhelmed by the numbers.

Only 50 people are served per day with hundreds of others being turned away.

Long and meandering queues have become an everyday feature starting from as early as 5 am.

However, the residents’ coalition has called for intensified mobile registration in remote areas and if the government fails, they will petition Parliament and approach the Constitutional Court.