By Chitownews reporters- Admire Mutize and helliet Nyamunda
Eligible but unregistered voters attending High schools and vocational training colleges in Chitungwiza were the target of Chitungwiza Community Development Network (CCDN)’s #RegisterInspectVote campaign at the Chitungwiza Schools Sports gala held at Unit L Community centre recently. A team of ten recently trained voter educators were deployed by CCDN to the day-long sports tournament which was organized and hosted by Young Africa Skills Centre (YASK).
The tournament was graced by top Chitungwiza based-schools such as Beverly Hills College, Hillview International College, MD College and the hosts- Young Africa Skills Centre (YASK). The participants competed in three sports disciplines namely soccer, netball and volleyball.
The voter educators key message- tailored for the youthful crowd at the sports gala was that anyone born before 29 May 2 000 was now eligible to register as a voter and vote in Zimbabwe’s forthcoming 2018 Harmonized polls and should utilize the opportunity presented by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) current voter inspection and registration exercise which ironically began on the same day- Saturday 19 May and will end on 29 May 2018. ZEC’s voter inspection and registration exercise has brought inspections centres and ward voter registration centres closer to communities across Zimbabwe and in Chitungwiza – ZEC’s green tents are very conspicuous at most Shopping centres.
CCDN’s Voter educators also shared voter education Information Education and Communication (IEC) material in the form of flyers and pamphlets with the school and college going crowd which formed the bulk of jovial spectators at the gala. The voter educators also took their time to interact with small groups of spectators to answer questions and clarify the procedures and requirements of the voter registration and inspection process.
In its day-long interaction with youthful voters- The CCDN team briefly discussed the importance of voting and why young people should register to vote in 2018. The team of voter educators learnt that requirement for proof of registration was the biggest obstacle preventing eligible but unregistered youths from registering as voters with ZEC. Most of the participants had already obtained national identity cards or green Identification card waiting passes which are permissible for identification when registering as voters.
“I turned 18 last year but I am hesitant to approach ZEC tents to register as a voter because I do not have any letter or document which I can use as proof of residence- I was thinking of using my school report card as proof of residence but my friends laughed at my idea”, said one of the soccer players from Hillview.
The idea of using school academic report cards as proof of residence in voting started an animated discussion amongst the group and tested the knowledge of the voter educators who could not provide a definite answer. The team advised the eligible but unregistered school going voters to use the Voter Registration details- VR9- forms which eligible voters without proof-of-residence documents can use as an affidavit of residence for voter registration by completing it and having it commissioned by a commissioner of oaths.
The team concluded the day’s exercise by photocopying and distributing 100 VR9- Affidavit-of Residence forms to eligible but unregistered voters who intended to register as voters with ZEC but lacked proof of residence.