Political parties have called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to scrap the requirement for potential voters to provide proof of residence stating that the requirement only serves to discourage people from registering.
In separate interviews with The Herald, representatives of various political parties agreed that ZEC should scrap the requirement, saying it was “useless” as no verification was being done to check the authenticity of documents produced by people as proof of residence. Zanu-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke said that his party will discuss the issue at the party’s next caucus next week, with a view to lobbying ZEC to scrap the requirement. Said Matuke:
If that requirement is scrapped, that will help our people. The BVR system only allows a person to vote once and that does not require proof of residence to authenticate. We will caucus next Wednesday and, just like any other political party, lobby ZEC to consider our request. We cannot tell them what to do because they are an independent body, but we can lobby them to consider our views.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu accused village heads of charging people for them to write letters that serve as proof of residence. Said Gutu:
The proof of residence requirement should simply be scrapped with immediate effect. In rural areas, some unscrupulous and greedy village heads are charging people 25 cents, 50 cents or even $1 in order for them to prepare written proof of residence for people who intend to register. This has resulted in hundreds of people failing to register to vote because they don’t have the money to pay to these traditional leaders. Even in urban areas, lodgers are finding it difficult to obtain proof of residence from their landlords because some landlords are simply uncooperative. ZEC should take immediate measures to rectify this anomaly.
MDC spokesperson Mr Kurauone Chihwayi and National People’s Party spokesperson Mr Methuseli Moyo also called for the provision to be removed and stated that it was one of the reasons for low turnout at registration centres.