Voter Educators Should diffuse myths and suspicions on the Biometric Voter Registration

Heal Zimbabwe notes with great concern the increase in cases of citizen misinformation and intimidation emanating from how the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system works. Heal Zimbabwe through its trained Human Rights Monitors (HRMs) has been monitoring the electoral environment ahead of the voter registration exercise and has noted an increase in cases of human rights violations where some overzealous political activists are saying the BVR system is capable of allowing political parties to see how one votes.

Such lies about the BVR have been recorded in Hurungwe North ward 9, Mudzi North ward 17, Muzarabani ward 10, Bindura, Pfungwe ward 9 and Bikita West ward 10. Heal Zimbabwe notes that such incidences of misinformation work against voter education and mobilization ahead of the BVR voter registration exercise that will commence in October 2017.

The BVR system is a commendable and noble process which is in line with International and regional best practices on elections such as SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. Such principles   compel member states such as Zimbabwe to ensure that electoral bodies carry robust voter registration exercises.

In light of this, ZEC and all voter educators must move in to conduct a robust awareness raising exercise to diffuse myths and suspicions around the implementation of the BVR.  Heal Zimbabwe implores ZEC to continue fulfilling its constitutional mandate by continuing to receive, consider complaints from the public around the BVR and take appropriate action in that regard.