Detained for driving vehicle with voter awareness message
By Tichaona Sibanda
A youth activist was on Wednesday arrested by police in Bulawayo after they
saw him driving a vehicle emblazoned with messages promoting voter
awareness, ahead of crucial elections.
Liberty Bhebhe from the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) was detained
for two hours at the Bulawayo Airport where he had gone to transfer his name
from the Nkulumane to the Umguza constituency.
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us that Bhebhe’s vehicle had a large
Mickey Mouse poster with the words ‘X Generation Voters’ and ‘First time
Voter’ printed on it.
Before his detention, Bhebhe had earlier received a call from the Law and
Order department asking him about his voter awareness campaigns. In the last
two months, several activists have been arrested by the police for promoting
‘When Bhebhe’s lawyer got to the airport, he was told by the police that
they had not arrested him but had in fact stopped him from engaging in an
illegal activity,’ Saungweme said. Bhebhe was released without facing any
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is responsible for controlling the entire
process of the conduct of elections. But the compilations of the voters’
roll and the awareness campaigns have largely remained under the control of
Tobaiwa Mudede, an alleged staunch supporter of ZANU PF.
He has been accused by Robert Mugabe’s opponents of manipulating figures in
previous elections to rig elections in favour of Mugabe.
Meanwhile two weeks into the 30-day voter registration process there are
serious concerns that the Registrar General’s Office is frustrating efforts
by some Zimbabweans to vote in the forthcoming poll. There have been near
riots in several cities after would-be voters have been barred or frustrated
from registering at their local mobile registration centres.
On Wednesday MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai summoned all his aspiring
council and parliamentary, as well as district and provincial leaders, to
impress upon them the need to rally their supporters to go and register
despite facing massive problems.
Tsvangirai told them to ensure that people are registered to vote in their
areas, even if they have to stand in long queues to register. He impressed
upon the party candidates not to let their supporters get frustrated, but to
make it their responsibility to physically involve themselves in shepherding
people in their constituencies to visit registration centres.
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