By Albert Nxumalo
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has roped in the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to assist drum up support among residents as it embarks on a six-month mobile Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise in the city in a bid to boost the number of registered voters.
This is in preparation for the planned delimitation exercise earmarked for 2022 that will determine the number of wards and constituencies per province.
The last delimitation process was conducted in 2007, shortly before the harmonised elections held in March 2008.
The 2018 harmonised elections used the constituency boundaries mapped in 2007.
Delimitation of boundaries is key to the electoral outcome as it would map out constituencies and wards in which people exercise their right to vote.
It will also result in an increase or decrease of wards and constituencies in provinces.
The new phase of biometric voter registration programme comes months after a survey carried out by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) warned that Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and North provinces are in danger of losing six constituencies combined in the next delimitation exercise citing few registered voters.
Bulawayo, which currently has 12 constituencies, would most likely end up with 10, the survey found.
Matabeleland North will also reduce from 13 constituencies to 12 while Matabeleland South will end up with 10 constituencies from 13.
That sparked an outcry among political players in the region.
Although voter registration is a continuous process and biometric registration was instituted ahead of 2018 elections in July of that year, few people register outside of an election cycle.
To drum up support, ZEC has engaged councillors and residents associations to help publicise the exercise.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is an organisation mandated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 239 to register voters and delimit constituencies, wards and other electoral boundaries among other functions,” wrote ZEC on 7 June.
“In preparation for the forthcoming Delimitation exercise, Bulawayo District will be conducting mobile voter registration to boost the number of registered voters in the province.
“The district is therefore appealing for your assistance in mobilising and notifying citizens of the places, dates and times of the exercise”.
The electoral body through Bulawayo District Elections Officer Mrs Khupe said the process began on June 12 in Nkulumane Hall and will run until December 17.
According to the schedule, registration will be done twice or thrice a month and the next phase is on June 26.
Community halls and shopping centers will be used as registration centers.