The workshop brought together 36 participants from ZEC and ZESN members to build trust and capacity for responsiveness, accountability and citizen participation in voter registration.
Participants hailed the workshop for its ability to usher in a new era of citizen-responsive voter registration in Zimbabwe. Most participants commended the event that it was timely, rich, second to none and worthwhile.
Addressing participants at the workshop ZEC Commissioner Dr. Petty Makoni indicated that credible voter registers are a result of good voter registration processes.
Key areas that were covered during the workshop include; guiding principles of voter registration, types of registers, legal framework for voter registration, factors influencing the choice of voter registration methodology, biometric voter registration, use of different technologies in voter registration, compiling registration data, maintaining the voter register, final voters list, elements of a good register, importance of stakeholders, working with stakeholders, developing voter registration education campaigns, voter’s roll audit among other key aspects of voter registration.
Commissioner Makoni elaborated on the need for collaboration and engagement between ZEC and stakeholders Commissioner Makoni said “this training of ZEC and CSOs marks a change of course in stakeholder collaboration that reduces the unnecessary suspicion and create better understanding of each other’s mandates and roles. The Commission believes that operating from a platform of mutual trust with an honest appreciation and appraisal of electoral processes will assist the electorate to better understand issues related to voter registration and voting as it is indeed their Constitutional right to do so.”
ZESN has in the past called upon government to provide resources to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to conduct polling station based voter registration and to come up with a new polling station based voters’ roll.
A gender activist with the Women’s Trust who participated at the workshop said that the workshop has strengthened her resolve to lobby and advocate for equitable inclusion of women in the voter registration process: “The voter registration model made me understand, all too clearly, why women had such difficulties in registering in the 2013 elections. Voter registration is fundamental to decision making and I am going to make concerted efforts to ensure that all women are on the voters roll.”
The workshop was facilitated by BRIDGE accredited facilitators from ZESN Rindai Chipfunde Vava, ZEC Utoile Silaigwana and Rejoice Sibanda and Malawi Electoral Commission-Harris Potani.