ZEC admits false start to voter registration blitz; Commission blames power cuts as pressure mounts

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By Reason Razao

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has admitted that its current voter registration blitz has virtually stopped, blaming constant power outages which are affecting the charging of the Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) kits.

Following a public uproar and allegations that ZEC was deliberately derailing voter registration, the election governing body said in addition to electricity load-shedding, the cloudy weather posed by Cyclone Freddy is also affecting the solar powered BVR kits.

In a statement, ZEC said efforts were being made to remedy the technical difficulties at some of its registration centres.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) hereby notifies the public that it is currently experiencing technical difficulties at some of its registration centres,” read the statement.

“This is due to shortages of electricity affecting the charging of the BVR kits. The situation is also worsened by the cloudy weather, which affects the solar powered BVR kits. ZEC assures the public that every eligible citizen will be registered.”

Social media has been awash with reports of potential voters spending more than 20 minutes trying to get registered, with some Twitter users alleging that ZEC was sabotaging the system.

Local pressure group, Register Elect and Protect (REAP), has challenged ZEC to immediately attend to a plethora of challenges being raised by voters at its centres across the country.

“We challenge the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to address the problems that have been recently discovered from multiple registration centres which include frequent electrical outages, machine failures, and a slow pace of registration by ZEC employees,” said REAP on Twitter.

The election watchdog warned that failure to address these challenges would negate the credibility of the electoral process

“These issues threaten the integrity of the electoral process and undermine the confidence of the Zimbabwean people in their democracy,” said REAP.

“ZEC has a responsibility to ensure that every eligible citizen is able to exercise their right to vote freely and fairly.

“This requires adequate resources, efficient systems, and competent staff. The current challenges facing ZEC are unacceptable and demand urgent attention.

“We call on ZEC to take immediate action to address the problems we identified.”

The group also called on ZEC to provide regular updates on progress, and to demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability in their operations.

“Failure to do so will only further erode public trust in the electoral process and threaten the stability and legitimacy of Zimbabwe’s democracy.”