ZCBC Statement on Voter Registration Blitz by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)

Behold I set before you today life and death, good and evil… choose life…” Deut. 30: 15-20

As the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe we are reaching out to you reminding you of your duty as Christians and responsible citizens. You have a right and duty to participate in the life of our country. We in the past elections have witnessed voter apathy. That says we are neglecting one of our duties. There can be no discussion or determination of our lives without us. As we prepare for the 2023 Harmonized General elections at a date to be announced by His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has announced the nationwide mobile Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz from the 12th to 21st of March 2023.

Simply put the blitz can be understood as the window period for people to register to vote before the elections. It is a call inviting us to exercise our duty as responsible citizens. We therefore appeal to you to consider how you use this chance. We are reaching out to those who have not yet registered to vote and those who are undecided. Consider this, at least once every five years you have an opportunity to choose who should lead. Will you choose or you will let others choose for you? Will you be content living the next five years with other people’s choices when you had an opportunity to determine the future?

As we celebrate the Synod on synodality, we are called to journey together and not to leave anyone behind. How far does your understanding of synodality stretch? Elections are an expression of journeying and discerning our future together as a nation. It therefore will be proper that as we exercise our democratic and constitutional right as individuals, we also see these elections as an exercise in communal discernment. We all have the freedom to participate and associate not only in Church matters, but even in civil matters. Our 2013 Constitution in Section 67 (3) (a) encourages every citizen, “to vote in all elections and referendums to which this Constitution or any other law applies, and to do so in secret.” No one can tell who to vote for or which party to join, rather we encourage you to participate and to be fully involved in the life of our country. That life by the way does not exclude politics and elections are another way of participating in the life of our country. (Cf. The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) 2023 Lenten Pastoral Letter).

The ZEC voter registrations teams will be in your areas to register voters. For one to be registered as a voter one should carry the National Identity Card (ID) or valid Zimbabwean Passport and Proof of residence. We encourage every person above eighteen (18) years, includingPersons with Disabilities (PWDs), youths and women to be part of this constitutional and democratic process. As we do so we urge you to share this message in all your gatherings.

Hoping that as a nation we will all discover the power we have in shaping our destiny by making vital choices for life.

Wishing you a blessed Lenten journey.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe

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