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ZEC abandons polling station at Zanu PF torture base


Byo, Mat North, Mat South risk losing constituencies



THE latest Afrobarometer survey says Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces have the least number of potential voters and could risk losing constituencies during the upcoming delimitation exercise.


The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has already warned that the three provinces may lose some constituencies as they fall below the delimitation threshold of plus or minus 20% of 26 308 per constituency.

 Zimbabwe last carried out a delimitation exercise ahead of the 2008 general elections. Statistics provided by Zec show that Matabeleland North and South had a combined total of just over 4 000 new voter registrants during the first phase of the voter registration blitz which ended on 28 February.

 The blitz began on February 1. According to Afrobarometer, this was not surprising as the research group confirmed public disinterest in participating in electoral processes in the three provinces.

“Looking at those who are not registered to vote, more than half of Masvingo (58%) and Bulawayo/Matabeleland North/Matabeleland South (53%) residents fall into this category. Rural residents (32%) are more likely to report not having registered to vote than their urban counterparts (25%), as are the youth (41%) compared to the middle-aged (17%) and the elderly (27%),” the Afrobarometer survey says.

“Midlands (80%) and Masvingo (78%) have the largest shares of “definite” voters, while the smallest proportion is recorded in Bulawayo/Matabeleland North/Matabeleland South (57%).

 “The poorest citizens (75%) are more likely to say they will vote than their better-off counterparts (59%-66%). Young respondents (52%) are considerably less likely to indicate an intention to vote than their elders (77%- 80%).”

 During the February voter registration blitz, Matabeleland North had the least number of new registrants across the country at 2 091 followed by Matabeleland South at 2 244. Harare had the highest at 16 437 followed by Mashonaland West at 5 275 and Midlands at 4 391.

 Bulawayo recorded 4 219 registrants. Critics have said the low turnout during the voter registration blitz could be blamed on a number of reasons including poor timing, lack of voter education and identity documents.

 Commenting on the Afrobarometer report, Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) national youth spokesperson Stephen Chuma said the revelations were worrying.

 “Indeed it is disheartening that we still have young people of voting age who are still unregistered as voters,” Chuma said. “They are however not beyond redemption and there is still time to change those statistics.

“Youths must know that the jobs and opportunities they crave for will only come if they participate in political processes like voter registration and voting itself. “Youths make up the majority of our population. Henceforth it is important that they participate in electoral processes in their numbers.”

Zanu PF director for communications Tafadzwa Mugwadi said there was a need to ensure new potential voters are registered to vote.

“Zanu PF is satisfied with the zeal and enthusiasm shown by young people thus far ahead of the 2023 elections,” Mugwadi said.

“However, we continue to call upon our structures to coordinate and assist young new potential voters to get them registered to vote. The process is continuous and the signs thus far are very positive for us.”

 Afrobarometer is a pan-African and non-partisan survey research network that provides data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

The Afrobarometer team in Zimbabwe, led by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) interviewed 1 200 adult citizens during the survey conducted between 28 March and 10 April this year.

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