Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) was in Bulawayo on Thursday the 4th of November for the latest edition of the Informal Sector Voter Education Campaign dubbed “Enhanced Informal Sector Voter Mobilisation and Advocacy Initiative” (EISeVOMA). The objective of the initiative is to enhance the participation of young informal traders and informal traders with disabilities in electoral processes. The workshop was attended by 25 young people from all the house of assembly constituencies in Bulawayo.
The project also seek to impart knowledge on voter education to participants so they can cascade information to their peers and community members.
VISET came up with this initiative after realizing that traditional voter education programmes did not take into consideration groups of people with unique needs such as persons living with disabilities, informal traders and youths.
Edward Kapodogo of the Programmes Department began by taking participants through a pre-test session to gauge participant’s knowledge on constitutional provisions on elections. Edward gave a rundown to participants on the requirements needed for voter registration, also saying that those previously classified as aliens were now recognized as Zimbabweans for as long as they were in the country upon passage of the new Constitution.
Ms. Gillian Chinzete VISET Programmes Manager said voting was a constitutionally defined right for any citizen aged 18 and above. She said EISeVOMA is designed to take care of voter education needs for marginalised groups and through it would also assist with shuttle services for those intending to go and register to vote working in concert with partners.
Participants registered displeasure with the fact that the whole of Bulawayo Metropolitan area had only one Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) office and this caused severe problems for those intending to register. It was suggested that maybe ZEC could deploy mobile units to traders markets and high density areas so as to make it easier for people intending to register.
There were also concerns that the delimitation exercise would see Bulawayo losing some constituencies owing to low registrations.
Edward said the onus was on the gathered participants to reach out to their peers and those in their communities to empower them with all the requisite information required in registering to vote in order for them to ensure they do not lose representation through culling of constituencies. He pledged that VISET would continue to render all necessary support in the voter education drive as participants go into their communities.