“In over 10 days a paltry 1,000,000 people have registered as voters meaning that on the balance of scale, only 2,000,000 will be captured in the remaining 20 or so days,” they say in the statement signed by JCTR Executive Director, Fr. Alex Muyebe.
They highlight some of the constraints inhibiting the exercise, including the constant breakdown of registration kits, shortage of manpower and slowness of the connectivity of the kits to the Internet, especially in rural areas.
In some registration centers, the kits take too long to respond to the fingerprints, a phenomenon that slows down the process, JCTR officials say and explain, “People with fingers that are hard or cracked as a result of the jobs they do are having difficulties to have their fingerprints taken and this sometimes takes over three hours to verify.”
“The new voters’ card is too light compared to previous ones,” the Jesuit scholars note.
Additionally, JCTR officials further observe, because of the many hours of waiting before being enlisted as electors, “majority of people would rather go to carry out their daily chores for economic survival as opposed to staying on the voter registration queue for the whole day,”
“These challenges can easily be dealt with otherwise many people will not be able to register due to the long queues and the time limitation,” officials of Jesuit Fr. Muyebe-led research institution say in their November 24 statement sent to ACI Africa.
As a way forward, they suggest a raft of measures that the leadership of ECZ can employ to ensure a faster and more efficient voter registration process.
“ECZ should ensure adequate manpower is deployed to all registration centers to ensure more people are captured,” they say and urge ECZ officials to “revisit the issue of equipment (kits) so that even where more staff is deployed, this must be in line with the number of kits that are being used.”
They say that “more staff but without kits might not be the best option” and advice that ECZ leadership mobilizes “more registration kits so that more registration officers can be engaged to ensure more people are captured in one day.”
“As a matter of importance,” the Jesuit scholars urge ECZ officials to “consider extending the voter registration period by a minimum of two weeks to cover up for the lost time due to breakdowns of the testing kits at registration centers.”