“The Youth Forum encourages the government to review its laws to allow all deserving voters to register with few or no hustles at all. We encourage the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to review such requirements especially for young people who usually find it difficult to produce the required proof of residence,” noted a statement by YFZ on Wednesday.
A youth, Munyaradzi Mwenga of Makuvaza village here, told the YFZ, which has been running a voter education campaign targeted at youths, that he had faced problems getting in touch with the headman to confirm that he resided in the area.
“The only time I managed to talk to him, none of us had a pen so he could not write me the so-called proof. I have tried visiting his homestead several times and on all occasions he has not been home.”
Youth Forum Zimbabwe said young people in Bikita were keen to add their names to the voters’ roll, following the organisation’s campaign; hence the youths had been thronging the Registrar’s Office in Masvingo on a daily basis.
Dorcas Garande (29) said the YFZ had helped her to see the link between voting and the quality of life she leads.
“I have registered as a voter and I am also encouraging other youths to register as it is only our vote that can decide our future,” she said.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has already highlighted in a survey it did countrywide that proof of residence in the form of utility bills such as water and electricity was a challenge for most potential voters living in rented accommodation.
The (YFZ) said demanding proof of residence was discriminatory to the homeless and displaced people who qualify to vote.