ELECTION WATCH 7/2017

[4th August 2017]

ZEC Press Statement on Voter Registration for Zimbabwean Citizens whose
National IDs are Marked “ALIEN”

Election Watches 5/2017 and 6/2017 outlined the new Electoral (Voter
Registration) Regulations, 2017 [SI 85/2017].  The full text of the SI is
available on the Veritas website [ <http://www.veritaszim.net/node/2143>
link].  The regulations, along with related provisions of the Electoral Act,
lay down how the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] will carry out its
constitutional responsibility for the registration of voters.     

This bulletin goes into more detail on proof of citizenship for those
Zimbabwean citizens whose national IDs are incorrectly marked “ALIEN”.  The
number of persons in this position is believed to be substantial.


Proof of Citizenship


Anyone claiming registration as a voter must satisfy a ZEC voter
registration officer that he or she is a citizen of Zimbabwe.   SI 85/2017
lists the three documents that are acceptable for this purpose – a
Zimbabwean identity document [metal or plastic], a “waiting pass&# 8221;
with a photograph of the holder; or a valid Zimbabwean passport.  


Whichever of these three documents is produced by a claimant, it must
“legibly show that the claimant is a citizen of Zimbabwe” [section 4].   


All three of these documents originate from the Registrar-General’s Office. 


A Problem for Citizens of Zimbabwe Holding “ALIEN” IDs


There are many Zimbabweans who in terms of the Constitution are entitled to
call themselves citizens of Zimbabwe, and are otherwise qualified to vote,
but whose ID documents do not show that they are citizens of Zimbabwe.
Instead of the word “CIT” [indicating citizen] their ID documents bear the
word “ALIEN” or “NCR” [indicating non-citizen resident].  


How can these persons get themselves registered as voters when their I Ds do
not show citizenship?  


ZEC cannot help.  It will not register a claimant who does not produce an
identity document showing citizenship.  And its mandate does not include
responsibility for citizenship matters, and the issuing of IDs and waiting
passes and passports.  Those are matters for the Registrar-General’s Office.



A would-be voter in this predicament will, therefore, have to apply to the
Registrar-General’s Office for an identity document showing his or her
citizenship of Zimbabwe.  Only once he or she has a new identity document
will it be possible to get registered as a voter by a ZEC voter registration
officer.


ZEC Press Release on the Problem 


This has recently been confirmed in a recent release issued by the ZEC Chief
Elections Officer, the relevant parts of which read as follows—


·        “On the dates of the BVR registration exercise, ZEC will not
register any person whose citizenship is not confirmed by the National ID or
other identity document lawfully issued by the Registrar General.  ZEC does
not grant or deny citizenship.  ZEC can only register adult citizens as
confirmed by the Registrar General.”


*       “Therefore, persons who, before the promulgation of the 2013
Constitution were issued with identity documents describing them as “aliens”
must forthwith proceed to the offices of the Registrar General to have their
citizenship regularised and confirmed.”
*       “ZEC  therefore  encourages  all  Zimbabweans  especially  those
hitherto incorrectly referred to as aliens, to have their identity documents
regularised now so that they are not disenfranchised in 2018.”


The full text of the ZEC press release is available on the Veritas website
[link <http://%20/www.veritaszim.net/node/2152> ].


ZEC Advice Applicable to All Potential Voters


Pre-voter registration applications to the Registrar-General’s Office for
correct identity documents will also be necessary in the following cases—


·    &nb sp;   persons unable to apply for IDs because of not having birth
certificates – ZEC does not mention this category, but if action is not
taken to see that all Zimbabweans have birth certificates the number of
disenfranchised potential voters will be unacceptable.  Failure to ensure
all citizens have birth certificates is violating a basic constitutional
right as well as various international instruments to which Zimbabwe is a
State party.


·  & nbsp;     illegible IDs or waiting passes – the ZEC press release
explicitly mentions this problem and advises an approach to the
Registrar-General’s Office.


·        dual citizens – dual citizens may hold ALIEN IDs or, in the case of
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, no Zimbabwean documentation at all.  This may
pose special problems.  Reports suggest that dual citizenship issues, if
dealt with at all, are dealt with only at the Registrar-General’s head
office in Harare.  If this is so, much needs to be done to correct the
position and bring the Registrar-General’s practice into line with the
Constitution.  


Special Effort Needed from Registrar-General’s Office, Ministry of Home
Affairs and Government


Section 155(2) of the Constitution lays down that the State [which includes
the Registrar-General’s Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs under which
the office falls and the Government as a whole] must take all appropriate
measures to “ensure that all eligible citizens, that is to say the citizens
qualified under the Fourth Schedule, are registered as voters”.  


Having the correct citizenship documentation is a pre-requisite to voter
registration.  The Government, the Ministry and the Registrar-General’s
Office must, therefore, take all appropria te measures to ensure that
citizens can get birth certificates if they haven’t got one and also the
identity and citizenship documentation they need for voter registration.  


The situation calls for a special effort by the Government, through the
Ministry of Home Affairs and the Registrar-General’s Office, to provide
Zimbabwean citizens with correct and acceptable citizenship documentation
before they attempt to register as voters with ZEC.  


Que stions about catering for those needing identity documents to enable
them to register as voters were asked in the National Assembly on 3rd May.
Hon Chombo, Minister of Home Affairs, said this when replying—


“…in the second half of this year we are going to do some blitz in all the
provinces and see those who need national documents and these will be
provided by the department and throughout the country. Those who may be left
out for a reason or another are also very much welcome to our various
district centres and sub-district offices to get the relevant and necessary
documents so that they can register as voters and that they participate in
the election, come 2018.”


It is imperative that this blitz happens sooner rather than later, and that
it caters for providing correct citizenship documentation for Zimbabwean
citizens holding ALIEN IDs – a problem that was not specifically put to Hon
Chombo, because the questioners were concentrating on the plight of
Gukurahundi orphans and others lacking the documentation needed for national
registration.


 

 

EM

On the 49th Parallel          

                 Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in
anarchy"
                    Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
"Pamoja na Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja na Dk. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda ni
katika machafuko" 

 

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