Final mobile voter registration begins, ZEC tables $130bn election budget

ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana
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THE final nationwide mobile biometric voter registration will begin next Sunday as preparations for 2023 harmonised elections gather momentum following the recent conclusion of the delimitation exercise.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will run a 10-day voter registration campaign, which ends on March 21, before undertaking various other activities, including opening the voters’ roll for public inspection, which will lead up to the elections.

Eligible voters will, however, still be able to register until two days after proclamation of the election date by President Mnangagwa.

ZEC has since tabled a $130 billion budget to conduct the polls, with Treasury expected to start disbursing the funds.

According to ZEC’s preliminary 2023 elections roadmap, the polls management body is preparing for an extensive post-delimitation awareness programme to explain to the electorate the new electoral boundaries.

This process will lead to other routine electoral procedures such as accreditation of observers and the media, production of the voters’ roll, constitution of the nomination court and establishment of the Multi-Party Liaison Committee.

ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utloile Silaigwana said preparations for the harmonised elections had commenced.

“The commission will undertake a nationwide mobile voter registration exercise from March 12 to 21, 2023, as it normally does before any general election,” he said.

“The voter registration blitz will provide an opportunity for new registrants to register and for the existing registrants to apply for transfers.

“Currently, trainings to equip voter educators, voter registration officers and their supervisors is underway in preparation for the blitz.”

A final elections roadmap, he said, is currently being crafted and will be shared with the public once President Mnangagwa has proclaimed the election date.

“Preparing for elections is not different from preparing for any major electoral process.

“It entails planning for both human and material resources, capacitation of officers, (and) mobilisation of resources.”

Preparing for the elections, he added, entails ensuring that major activities and time frames are met prior to election day.

“The commission is finalising the roadmap to the elections, which will be shared with stakeholders once the election date has been proclaimed by the President.

“ZEC requires $128,6 billion for the elections.

“Treasury has always honoured its obligation to fund the commission,” he said.

ZEC said the preliminary elections roadmap includes a post-delimitation exercise to publicise new electoral boundaries.

“The programme will be multi-faceted and entail engaging various stakeholder groups, deployment of voter education officers, use of both print and electronic media and the use of the ZEC website and social media platforms.”

Constitution of the Multi-Party Liaison Committee, said Mr Silaigwana, will help with resolution of all possible disputes during the election period.

The committee will have, among its duties, the responsibility “to hear and attempt to resolve any disputes, concerns, matters or grievances relating to the electoral process, including, in particular, any disputes arising from allegations concerning non-compliance with the code (of conduct)”.

President Mnangagwa gazetted the final delimitation report on February 20 this year.

Some of the salient features of the delimitation report include the creation of three new local authorities – Mvurwi Town Council with six wards; Chirundu Local Board with three wards; and Lupane Local Board with six wards.

At National Assembly constituency level, Harare province gained an extra constituency from the previous 29 seats.

Matabeleland South lost a constituency owing to the low number of registered voters in the province.

The province now has 12 National Assembly seats.

The rest of the provinces remained with the same number of constituencies allocated to them during the 2007 and 2008 delimitation exercise. – Sunday Mail