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Biti rubbishes registration exercise

I left Courtney Selous Primary School which is the only centre for ward voter registration in Ward 9, Harare East yesterday. What a charade of deception.

As posted by Tendai Biti on his Facebook page

They started registering voters on Friday and will continue until Monday. On Friday despite a kilometre-long queue, they only registered about 250 persons. Yesterday when I left they had registered 270.

There was a deliberate and systematic disenfranchisement of our people being executed by Tobaiwa Mudede and the chaos faction.

This was taking place countrywide. If they can do what they were doing in broad daylight, in one of Harare’s most enlightened suburbs, Greendale, what more [in remote areas such as] Gwelutshena , Gumunyu, Rasa or Bare?

If the people’s constitutional right to vote and choose leaders of their own choice freely and fairly as enshrined in Article 67 of the new constitution was to be respected, clearly on voting day, then those not registered must be allowed to use their IDs and a supplementary voters’ roll be prepared.

Without this, forget about salvaging this election, and I am mean just that, salvaging.

At Courtney Selous, just as there was at Tafara Community Hall, Ward 46 a few days ago, the system had bussed freshly shaved and hungry looking recruits from Chikurubi and Support Unit along Arcturus Road. Our monitoring team puts the number of these youths who have been registered just at Courtney Selous alone, at 700.

They had a special line, receiving preferential treatment. making our case that ZEC staff need to be changed.

I personally saw and photographed these youths. I personally saw a brand new police vehicle bringing them food. What shame.

In addition to these shenanigans, Zanu [PF] was bussing persons from places such as Proton and Bobo — nearby farming areas. This, every party can and is allowed to do. What is not legal or moral is for these persons to then be given a special line for preferential registration.

I am aware that in Harare Zanu [PF] wants to get at least six seats which include Harare East, Harare North, Mount Pleasant, Harare South, Epworth and Harare West. In these areas they have stuffed thousands of service members to register as voters despite the fact that they do not reside in the same.

This is precisely why among other reasons there should be a separate period of voter inspection as agreed by the parties in the 2010 Road Map and as recently as June 6.

But let’s just say to Zanu [PF] that our teams are already flushing out these ghosts through scoping of the electronic voters’ roll we have started. I know that Mai [Theresa] Makone and Mukoma [Jameson] Timba in Mount Pleasant are almost completing their audits.

They [Zanu PF] must also know that they do not own these soldiers and youngsters. In the secret inner chambers of their hearts, they [the soldiers] know the truth. As a matter of fact, like all of us, they can’t wait to punish Zanu [PF]. The revenge of history.

But it was not all gloom. As I shook hands with hundreds of people in the queue yesterday, I was impressed by the steely determination of Zimbabweans. People said to me, “don’t worry minister, they will not frustrate us.”

I was also impressed by the significant presence, of young first-time voters particularly female teenagers of the “salad type”.

The youths are no longer prepared to be innocent bystanders whilst selfish geriatrics continue to strangulate their future. They too, jobless as they are and still being looked after by their parents, cannot wait.

The current voters’ roll process, which is being held a few days in a ward is clearly unconstitutional. The law says there must be intense voter registration in every ward for 30 days.

I reckon that even if ZEC were given another 100 days, they would not finish [registering].

Constitutionalism, the basis of the Con-Court judgment in the [Jealousy] Mawarire case demands that, every person not on the voters’ roll must just bring his ID on voting day and be allowed to vote.

This charade is just a waste of money.

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