Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) successfully engaged the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) for Masvingo province over the urgent need to have commissioners of oath easily accessible at all Biometric Voter Registration centres (BVR) as stipulated in the new electoral act as well as the urgent need to capture ward 7 of Masvingo urban and other registration centres in Masvingo Central constituency which was missing from the new voter registration system.
The meeting was resultant of public outcry and frustrations faced by potential registrants who were failing to register because they could not have their proof of residence certified right at the BVR centre as earlier promised, while the residents of Rujeko suburb ward 7 were not allowed to register. Potential registrants were made to have their proof of residence certified by legal practitioners and private commissioners as they were left with no alternatives while some went back home unregistered.
The meeting was conducted with ZEC Officials Mrs Gertrude Marumbi and Mr Zuze at Masvingo provincial offices. During the meeting the ZEC officials agreed to task the ZEC Technical team to work flat out to rectify the issue of the missing ward 7 and promised that by the 19th of September 2017 they were going to ensure that there were commissioners of oaths at all registration centres in the 7 administrative districts of Masvingo.
COTRAD Ballot Buddies who visited registration centre in all District of Masvingo (today) 22 September 2017 observed that commissioners of oaths were now present at Gutu, Mwenezi, Zaka, Masvingo, Chivi and Bikita district registration centres except at the registration centre in Chiredzi. COTRAD Ballot Buddie Mutonga Mugove of Chiredzi observed that by the 21st of September 2017, about 67 potential registrants were turned back home as they could not access the commissioner of oath and were not able to fork out commissioning charges by legal practitioners. The Ballot Buddies observed that at Gutu Old post office registration centre around 31 people were being register per day, at Masvingo District Registration Centre around 42 people while Zaka only 30 were being registered.
COTRAD will continue to engage the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) for Masvingo provincial Offices advocating for the commission to ensure that all the registration centres in the province have enough equipment and registration Officers fully committed to their work.