Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Nick Mangwana has been criticised for “celebrating” low voter registration.
Mangwana posted on Twitter this Thursday “laughing” at various stakeholders, including the opposition and non-governmental organisations for failing to persuade many people to register to vote. He said:
So all those campaigns and hashtags from self-appointed Social Media Influencers cum Award Winning What what, only produced 2000 registrants? That appears like an organic figure anyway. Guys, stop hyping up your clout. You have very little of it on the ground. #
This post attracted criticism from many people including MDC Alliance spokesperson, Advocate Fadzayi Mahere who said low voter registration depicts the incompetence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). She said:
A whole spokesperson of a regime celebrating low voter registration! He’s ignorant of ZEC’s constitutional mandate under s239c to register voters. The numbers are an indictment on @ who failed to carry out a blitz, have inadequate centres & no Comms strategy. Incompetence!
Section 239 of the Constitution speaks on the Functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It reads:
239. Functions of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has the following functions–
c.) to register voters;
d. to compile voters’ rolls and registers;
e. to ensure the proper custody and maintenance of voters’ rolls and registers;
Campaigns to push all eligible people to be registered ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections were run on social media amid reports that 1.6 million youths have attained 18 years and, therefore, can vote.
However, out of that total, only 2 000 registered to vote since the beginning of the campaigns. Some believe ZEC is playing with numbers so that it would appear as if few people registered to vote.
Some Political analysts say the registration of youths will likely enhance opposition MDC Alliance’s chances of removing the ruling ZANU PF from power.