Elections advocacy group the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has pleaded with the Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to expedite the issuance of national identity documents to eligible citizens.
In a statement following the indefinite suspension of voter registration by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the network said challenges in obtaining national identity documents are threatening rights to electoral processes.
“Zimbabwe Election Support Network Implores government to resource the Civil Registry in order to empower it to conduct an inclusive exercise of issuing national identity cards to eligible citizens. A national ID or valid passport is a requirement for one to be able to register to vote.
“Young people, citizens who lost IDs and those who have become eligible have been finding it difficult to get the IDs, threatening their disenfranchisement in electoral processes. Given that young people constitute the biggest demographic group in Zimbabwe, their participation in elections is critical as democracy is essentially about the participation of the majority,” noted ZESN
The Network called on the Government to heed the call by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that the processes of acquiring identity documents be decentralised.
“The Network hopes that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage will heed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call, while addressing his party supporters in Gokwe earlier this month, to decentralize the process of acquiring birth certificates and national identity cards so that everyone can easily register to vote.
“The Network reiterates its call to government to avail adequate resources to the Civil Registry’s office to enable them to procure the necessary materials needed for processing national documents. ZESN envisages that by February 2022 when ZEC is set to commence the voter registration blitz ahead of by-elections and the boundary delimitation exercise, the Civil Registry would have complemented ZEC through issuance of the relevant national documents to the eligible voters to ensure their participation in the key electoral processes,” the network said.
ZESN encouraged ZEC to avail its full calendar of activities to enable stakeholders to plan their activities on time.