THE National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) has confronted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) after it emerged that some traditional leaders were demanding chickens from potential voters who would have requested letters of proof of residence.
Proof of residence is one of the requirements put by government for one to register as a voter and in the rural areas traditional leaders have been authorized to issue stamped letters to their people which they would present to ZEC.
NERA co-chairperson, Douglas Mwonzora, told New Zimbabwe at the weekend that some traditional leaders were demanding hens and cocks from villagers for them to get these letters.
Mwonzora said they had names of such chiefs who were extorting villagers.
He said last week Friday, NERA had a “fruitful” meeting with ZEC where “we” raised these issues.
“In some instances these traditional leaders are charging amounts ranging from $0.25 to $1 and this is discouraging the rural people from registering to vote.
“It is a criminal offence for one to charge for issuing a proof of residence letter, and our meeting with ZEC which discussed these and other issues was very fruitful,” said Mwonzora.
The other “urgent” issue which Mwonzora said they discussed with ZEC concerned the $10 fee which the electoral body was charging to accredit individuals wishing to observe the on-going voter registration process.
“ZEC on this one said they were going to advise us on their attitude in due course, and they have agreed to allow our technical experts to monitor the voter registration process and to that end we have deployed three experts per party, who have been duly accredited,” he said.
Last week, Mwonzora’s party, the MDC-T, said they had recorded names of Zanu PF officials who were confiscating date stamps from traditional leaders so that they would not use them to authenticate villagers’ proof of residence letters.
Source: New Zimbabwe