Harare (New Ziana) – Government will process two million identity documents in the next six months in a massive registration blitz that will enable people to access primary documents in time for the mobile Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise which began on February 1.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is conducting a BVR blitz that began on Tuesday and will end on February 28 and resume from April 11 up to April 30 in preparation for a delimitation exercise to be conducted later in the year for the 2023 harmonised elections.
Owing to Covid-19 regulations, ZEC pushed the voter registration exercise from last year to this year to allow undocumented prospective registrants adequate time to acquire IDs.
Successive strict Covid-19 lockdowns resulted in a huge backlog at the Registrar General’s department because it was only processing urgent documents such as burial orders and a limited number of passports.
Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Aaron Nhepera, confirmed on Wednesday to New Ziana the impending start of the national ID registration blitz.
“ZEC has proceeded to start voter registration (but) in the past we have done this together. We would also go ahead of them issuing birth certificates and IDs but this time because they already had resources they have gone ahead of us,” he said.
“However, we have plans to start a mobile registration exercise throughout the country beginning April. The exercise will run for about six months within which period we hope to have given IDs and birth certificates to about two million people and this we are doing in preparation for the 2023 harmonised elections. Plans are at an advanced stage to deploy the team.”
Nhepera said his ministry will engage with ZEC for a solution to ensure that the delayed roll-out programme does not disenfranchise eligible prospective registrants especially when it comes to voting.
“It might mean they will have to re-visit the areas that they are currently covering otherwise they will leave out many people who qualify to register as voters without being registered,” he said.
“That is what we are going to do (engage ZEC). Once we are ready, we will inform them.”
On Monday this week, ZEC Chief Elections Officer, Utoile Silaigwana said he had been assured of the civil registry’s efforts to issue out IDs.
“By then (December last year) they (the Civil Registry Department) were not very ready to go out and give IDs but we are informed that process is being rectified. We hope that within the (voter registration) period, they will be able to put their systems together so that those who need IDs can get them,” said Silaigwana.