Jonas in Mufakose, Harare, says people of Malawian origin, or aliens, are being barred from registering to vote, contrary to the spirit of the new constitution. He says aliens who tried to register last week Wednesday in Mufakose’s Ward 36 were told to go to Room 100 at Makombe Building where they were being asked to pay thousands of dollars to renounce Malawian citizenship they do not even hold. Muguti, also from Mufakose, agrees with Jonasi and says although the registration process is a nightmare, many people are determined to queue for as long as it takes for a chance to register to vote and kick ZANU PF out of power.
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Vhuramavi in Epworth near Harare, says there is still no sign of voter registration units in the area, just days before the exercise ends. He says he does not understand why mobile phone SIM card records cannot be used to establish proof of residence. He says a lot of Epworth residents do not have identity particulars, and is worried that the two days that the mobile teams are spending per Ward will not be enough to enable people to apply for IDs, register, or verify if their names appear on the voter’s roll.
Mandiziba in Bulawayo says he’s frustrated with the way the voter registration process has been conducted. He says despite spirited efforts to check if his name is on the voters’ roll, he has not been able to do so, as his landlord is based in South Africa. He wants the programme to be extended, the proof-of-residence requirement revised and registration officials urged to be professional. Makhandeni in Kadoma says only those who arrive at registration centres in ZANU PF trucks are being served by officers. He says two weeks ago, ZANU PF officials collected information about people’s political affiliation, and they are using this information to ferry their supporters to registration points, while those who arrive unaccompanied are turned away.
Gideon Shoko in Gutu says young people are being barred from registration centres for failing to produce proof of residence. He says birth certificates have all the information such as the birth-place and district of origin for every individual, and these should be admissible as proof of residence for youths. Shoko also says ZANU PF officials in the area have been camping outside registration centres and misrepresenting the electoral process as a party project. He says the officials are writing down the names of all young registrants, and threatening them with a follow-up door-to-door terror campaign should ZANU PF lose the next election.
Sipambi in Zimuto, Masvingo, says the voter registration exercise should be extended to cater for the many people who have been left out, on account of lack of publicity for the programme, as well as the long distances that people are required to travel to registration centres. He says disabled people like him have been effectively disenfranchised since they can’t get to the distantly located centres.
Artwell Mafuta from Chivi South says a massive intimidation campaign has been launched by ZANU PF, particularly targeting headmen. He says the community leaders have been told that they are expected to lead their people to meetings and to polling stations, to vote for ZANU PF.
Save says incidents of political intimidation are re-surfacing in Gandavaroyi, where ZANU PF supporters and war-vets are forcing people to attend their rallies. He says although MDC-T meetings are banned in the constituency and people are being threatened with the violence of 2008, ZANU PF will lose, if the elections are free and fair; while Andrew in the Gunikuni Ward in Masvingo, says MDC-T supporters are facing stringent voter registration requirements while the process has been made easy for ZANU PF supporters. He says ZANU PF has provided lorries to ferry supporters to the registration offices, accompanied by officials. Andrew says because they would be accompanied, ZANU PF supporters are not asked to produce letters from the headman, whereas MDC supporters are turned away if they don’t have these letters, which are difficult to obtain.
Tich Sibanda stands in for Ezra and speaks to Gogo in Zvishavane who is urging the electorate to vote wisely, saying after 33 years in power and nothing to show for it, it is high time Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF were booted out of government; while Panashe from Mutoko says it appears President Mugabe has lost control of his army generals who seem to ignore his calls for a violence free election, as shown by their torrent of abuse towards Prime Minister Tsvangirai.
Muchazvirega from Mt Darwin says there is concern in the area that an army camp that has not been in use for 15 years is soon to be occupied by soldiers, igniting fear among villagers that the move is part of ZANU PF’s strategy to harass and intimidate them ahead of this year’s elections
Mukadota in Chipinge West says elections should not be held under the current environment of harassment. He urges the MDC to boycott the forthcoming elections if the army and ZANU PF militia still roam the villages instilling fear. He urges all opposition parties to join forces and rally behind Tsvangirai and says vote-splitting in 2008 cost Zimbabweans the opportunity to remove Mugabe from power. Meanwhile in Chinhoyi, Kwiriro Jazire appeals to government to do more to support young people who failed to make it through the formal education system. He says although he has set up a musical band with his friends since they left school, their efforts are being hampered by lack of basic equipment such as a computer, to help them record their music.
Baba Gumede in Khanye, Silobela, says the few mobile voter registration teams servicing the constituency indicate a plot by ZANU PF to rig the election, by making it difficult for people in MDC strongholds to register. He says the nearest registration unit is stationed more than 20km away, an area only accessible in the evenings by public transport. He says it would have helped to use posters to publicise the dates and locations of teams, as most villagers don’t have radios. From Uzumba, Thimas says in the Nyanzou Ward the voters’ roll verification process began well before the April 29th official start date, with some well-known ZANU PF youth leaders checking the names on what appeared to be a duplicate roll. He fears that ZANU PF may have been using the process to gauge their support base ahead of the actual verification process.