Election think tank and advocacy group the Election Resource Centre (ERC) says the conduct of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) raises questions around the right to vote due to irrational restrictions.
ERC made the remarks after their recent desktop analysis on the distribution of voter registration centres in the country indicated that it is likely to be difficult for urban voters to register as opposed to their rural counterparts.
In an interview with 263Chat, ERC executive director Babra Bhebe said it is disturbing that metropolitan cities have fewer voter registration centres against potential voter population as compared to rural areas.
“This is a worrying trend that has been present since the BVR blitzes ahead of the 2018 Harmonised Election, where there has been seemingly deliberate efforts to frustrate and in some cases prevent eligible voters from registering to vote, especially witnessed in urban areas. The conduct has resulted in urban areas systematically having a lower percentage of registrants than rural areas.
“The conduct of the Electoral Commission potentially raises questions around universal suffrage, as the distribution of voter registration centres vis-a-vis places unreasonable restrictions on the right to vote. In Zimbabwe the majority of the population lives in rural areas, democracy creates political incentives for governments to favour rural interests while ignoring the urban minority, thereby generating dissatisfaction on the part of urban voters,” said Bhebhe
She said though the duty fall within the electoral body’s jurisdiction, the ERC will continue to engage ZEC to find workable solutions.
“As the ERC we continue to engage with the Electoral Commission to find sustainable solutions to ensure electoral processes are accessible to all, but the duty rests on the Commission to ensure inclusivity in all its conduct,” she added.
ERC says the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) has permanent registration centres across the country.