BY PROBLEM MASAU/GARY GERALD MTHOMBENI
ZANU PF has reportedly hijacked the mobile national identity registration blitz and commandeered the services to the party’s perceived strongholds to make sure its supporters obtain identity documents (IDs) needed for voting processes.
On Monday, Zanu PF’s local leadership in Harare South reportedly told residents that they had invited the Registrar-General’s Office to issue the IDs in the constituency so that no one would have an excuse not to register to vote in the 2023 elections.
There are also reports that the same services have been extended to the apostolic sects that have been known to fiercely support the ruling party.
Government launched the national IDs registration blitz on April 1 this year with the exercise scheduled to end on September 30, but there are reports that Zanu PF is now monopolising the programme to benefit supporters in its strongholds, mostly rural areas.
Zanu PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi, however, said there was nothing amiss in having the mobile registration blitz concentrated at apostolic sects shrines and other perceived ruling party strongholds.
“What is wrong with people getting national IDs at churches? Should Christians be discriminated against because there is a probability they will vote for Zanu PF?” Mugwadi asked when contacted for comment yesterday.
“I must be honest to advise that those making such allegations are going beyond sense with propaganda and I am sorry for them. IDs are a right of every Zimbabwean, Christian or atheist.”
Zanu PF national commissar Mike Bimha said: “We have never discussed the issue of IDs, so I don’t know anything about. In fact, we do not hijack national processes.”
In June, Zanu PF members commandeered officials from the RG’s Office to serve only ruling party members seeking birth and death certificates as well as national IDs in Mhondoro.
This was after the party’s functionaries stormed Tafara Primary School, where there was a mobile registration exercise, disrupting business and ordered RG officials to give preferential treatment to applicants vetted and approved by Zanu PF.
They were led by Zanu PF Mhondoro district co-ordinating committee deputy information secretary Doubt Masaka.
The registration exercise was then aborted after protests by villagers, who felt the process had been politicised.
An official from the RG’s Office Timothy Mumba told NewsDay yesterday that there were several localised national ID issuance sites across the country, but referred other questions to Registrar-General Henry Tawona Machiri, who was not reachable on his mobile phone.
“I can confirm that we have several ID blitzes across the country like the one that we launched in Hopley, Harare South,” Mumba said.
Zanu PF has in the past been accused of abusing State resources and institutions to consolidate power.
#EkhayaVote2023 spokesperson Nkosilathi Dibiti said: “The bigger challenge that we faced as we were doing the mobile registration blitz was the issue of IDs. These IDs have become a problem because many people did not have them.”
According to official data published by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Bulawayo had the lowest number of registered voters at 270 914 people, from a national total of 5 804 975 registered voters.