ZEC Concerned Over Bulawayo Voter Apathy

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and civil society organisations (CSOs) in Bulawayo have expressed concern over voter apathy in the city, noting only a few people were showing interest in registering to vote.

Zimbabwe is set to hold its national elections in 2023.

However, a recent survey carried out by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) indicates Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces were likely to lose some parliamentary constituencies during the forthcoming delimitation exercise due to low figures of registered voters.

The survey also shows the number of constituencies in MDC Alliance strongholds of Harare, Manicaland, and Zanu PF support bases of Mashonaland Central and West provinces will also increase.

However, the number of constituencies in the Midlands and Mashonaland East provinces will remain unchanged.

Speaking during a ZEC organised stakeholders meeting in Bulawayo Friday, CSOs members implored the electoral body to strategise on how best to encourage eligible citizens to register as voters.

In response, the ZEC district elections officer, Sithembiso Khupe said a lot of work needed to be carried out to encourage Bulawayo residents to vote.

“Bulawayo has only 258 567 registered voters while Mashonaland East province has 900 728 registered voters. If the issue is not resolved Bulawayo will lose some of its constituencies while other provinces gain more,” she said.

“This means when resources are allocated, Bulawayo will automatically get less than other areas. It is important therefore for citizens to come forward and register to vote.”

One participant at the meeting, Gilbert Moyo urged ZEC to facilitate voter registration through online platforms.

Bulawayo has only one voter registration office located in Famona.

“The Famona office cannot cater for all the people here in Bulawayo. ZEC should encourage voter registration through online platforms,” Moyo said.

Another participant, Never Gumede suggested CSOs should work with residents and identify influential people within communities who will mobilise people and encourage them to register to vote.

“CSOs could work with influential members of societies who have access to address people at public gatherings such as funerals, school meetings, or community meetings. That way they can utilise such opportunities to encourage other residents to get registered to vote.