Local election watchdog, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) says recent cancellation of the ‘Register to Vote’ concert that was scheduled for last Saturday at Bulawayo’s Hartsfield Tshisanyama is an insult to the ideals of a free society.
Police in Bulawayo reportedly cancelled the “Register to Vote” concert organised by the electoral watchdog on grounds that it was too political.
In a statement, ERC said the last minute cancellation of the event did not constitute an improved electoral environment and will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders.
“The cornerstone of any democracy is measured by the ability of citizens’ legitimate freedom to participate in processes without fear and to organise for legitimate causes. The recent cancellation of the students voter registration activation in Bulawayo by authorities is an affront to ideals of a free society. The Election Resource Centre (ERC) had organised a students activation concert which was set to take place on 12 November in Bulawayo at Hartsfield Tshisanyama. The main objective of the event was to encourage students to register to vote.
“As Zimbabwe gears up and prepares for the harmonised elections to be held between July and August 2023, the recent 11th hour cancellation of the performance does not point to an improved electoral environment. Authorities must promote an open and tolerant environment and the time is now. The freeness of the election is measured by the ability of citizens to openly and freely enjoy their constitutional rights. The ERC will continue to engage with the Zimbabwe Republic Police and relevant stakeholders to ensure that future activations are not arbitrarily cancelled,” said the ERC
ERC had applied for the hosting of the concert on November 7 and re-applied four days later but both were turned down.