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Zimbabwe to boost biometric voter registration with issuance of 2M IDs

Zimbabwe to boost biometric voter registration with issuance of 2M IDs

The second phase of a biometric voter registration process to begin on April 11 in Zimbabwe may get a big push in terms of numbers to be enrolled if the government keeps its pledge to issue at least two million national IDs to willing registrants, writes The Chronicle.

The national ID is a requirement for the biometric voter registration process, the first phase of which is currently ongoing and scheduled to round off on February 28.

Per the report, there have been complaints of low registration numbers during this current phase partly due to the lack of ID cards held by citizens, especially in areas such as Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo.

In some instances, the problem can be traced back to a lack of birth certificates, which are the primary document for obtaining other ID documents such as the national ID card, passport or driver’s license.

Officials who spoke to The Chronicle said turnout for the voter registration is low especially in rural and difficult-to-reach areas.

The outlet quoted Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe as saying in a recent press conference that in order to counter the low voter turnout trend, a campaign meant to issue at least two million nation IDs and birth certificates to citizens will roll out on April 1, the intention being to enable as many Zimbabweans as possible to carry out the biometric voter registration process.

“(W)e have a program that is starting on the 1st of April where we intend to give two million people IDs, birth certificates, passports etc. It will run from April to September. We shall try our level best so that no one will be left behind,” said Kazembe.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) recently announced it has registered over 25,000 new voters since the mobile biometric registration began on February 1. However, civil society groups complain that some factors including the lack of IDs are still hindering the smooth unfolding of the process.

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