newsupdates in zimbabwe

The Chronicle

chronicle logo small

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter

MRS Josephine Tshabangu (87) from St Peters Village on the outskirts of Bulawayo can’t remember when she lost her national identity card.

But she blames her grandchildren for probably misplacing it when they searched her bag and stole her money.

Mrs Tshabangu said she, however, encountered several hurdles in her attempt to replace her ID. Last year, she visited the Civil Registry Department but officials could not assist her as she had to be attended to at a specific time so she returned home without an ID.

“You know children can be troublesome. I had gone away and when I returned home, I found my bag on the floor and when I searched it, I discovered that my money and ID were missing. I searched for it for a very long time and reported the matter to the police at the local police base,” said Mrs Tshabangu. 

She said she further reported the matter at Pumula Police Station where she was given an affidavit confirming that she lost her ID and was referred to the Civil Registry Department in the city centre for her to replace the lost document.

Mrs Tshabangu, however, hit a brick wall when she visited the registry offices as officials told her they could not attend to her.

“They told me that they were only attending to the elderly at 9AM. I tried to reason with them, telling them that I stayed very far, and I didn’t have bus fare. But the officials didn’t change their position, and told me to come back another day. So, I ended up returning home and I was now living without an ID. 

When I learnt of this mobile issuance of IDs, I made sure that I would be here early and I have been able to replace my identity card. I have obtained a new one,” said Mrs Tshabangu.

She said having an ID was important as it identified her as Zimbabwean and she is now able to participate in all processes that require IDs, including exercising her right to vote.

Mrs Tshabangu was speaking yesterday after obtaining an ID at St Peter’s Primary School where the Civil Registry Department is on a two-day mobile registration exercise for those without national documents so that they can register to vote. In the same queue was Miss Nothando Jele who turned 18-years-old in December last year.

She said the mobile registration exercise sprung her to action to obtain an ID and is now waiting for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to visit her area so that she registers to vote in the 2023 harmonised elections to be held later this year.

“When the ZEC comes here, I’ll be in a position to register to vote since I now have the ID which is required for one to register as a voter. I no longer have to worry about travelling to the city to obtain the ID,” she said.

The Civil Registry Department, after listening to stakeholders, has rolled out a 10-day civil registration exercise to streamline operations with the Zec biometric voter registration exercise which is running until 21 March across the country.

HDJKGHJHGJS Many people including the elderly turned up for the registration exercise at St Peters yesterday

With effect from yesterday until the end of the voter registration exercise, the Civil Registry offices will be operating for 12 hours during the week from 7AM to 7PM.

During weekends, they will be open from 7AM to 5PM. 

Government yesterday said it will be inexcusable for members of the public to fail to register to vote.

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Deputy Minister Ruth Maboyi said the Civil Registry Department had to conduct a mobile registration exercise to address concerns from stakeholders that access to national documents hindered citizens from registering to vote.

“We have a lot of people who are not registered to vote and most of the time we’re told that they’re failing to register to vote because they don’t have IDs. So, the Ministry, through the Civil Registry Department, saw it prudent to roll out the mobile registration programme to enable the public to obtain national documents which are a precursor for them to register to vote,” said Deputy Minister Maboyi.

“We believe that through the programme that we have rolled out, there’s no excuse for anyone not to obtain an ID as well as register to vote. We encourage every citizen to obtain an ID and register to vote.”

Political analyst Mr Teddy Ncube said the streamlining of services by ZEC and the Civil Registry Department is a positive step towards holding free and fair elections.


He said Government, through its various agencies, is responding to concerns that have been raised by political players, especially on why some citizens were failing to register to vote.

“This shows the Government and ZEC’s commitment to their constitutional obligations. On the Government side, there’s commitment that free and fair elections are held at any given interval as prescribed by the Constitution that there should be general elections every five years,” he said.

“Government has made efforts to ensure that everyone is given a chance to vote and any obstacles affecting the right to vote are removed. A free and fair election doesn’t start at the ballot. It starts at the preparation time and doing things like voter registration, voter education so that the election are a true reflection of the democratic will of the citizens of Zimbabwe.”

Mr Ncube said various reasons have previously hampered citizens from accessing national documents.

He said Government has removed bureaucratic obstacles and more citizens will obtain IDs enabling them to participate in electoral processes. – @nqotshili

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *