Political Reporter

Zimbabwe opposition parties are aiming for huge voter number to upstage Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF in 2018 elections.

The Coalition for Democrats (CODE), the largest grouping of opposition parties, though divided on the matter of election says voter education is paramount to achieving the numbers that will usher in the opposition into power.

“Voter education is critical. Zimbabweans need to know that their vote is going to have a lot of say in the 2018 elections,” said  the CODE chairperson.

Leader of Transform Zimbabwe Jacob Ngarivhume concurs that there is need to understand that 2018 should be driven by common sense politics, not personal agenda, so there is a need to acknowledge we will need a strong coalition supported by numbers of Zimbabweans. Parties must work hard to build their support base and mobilise citizens for the 2018 elections.

“As Transform Zimbabwe we cannot over emphasize the need to voter education and voter registration as paramount in winning the elections as opposition political parties,” said Ngarivhume.

Zimbabwe has a population of about 13 million people, against an estimated 8 million eligible to voters. Only about 4 million have been voting in the last two general elections of 2008 and 2013. In 2008, over five million people registered to vote but only 2 537 240 turned out to vote and this figure represents just a quarter of the eligible voting population.

In 2013, 40 000 registered voters were considered invalid and 3 480 047 turned out to vote as 69 280 votes were considered invalid with 304 890 being turned away.

“All these have been painful circumstances and are unacceptable in a democratic society,” says Ngarivhume.

He adds, “The above anomaly can be addressed by a well-planned and orchestrated voter education and registration program.”

While the opposition parties are busy pontificating and pointing fingers at the election body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), for doing little to educate people about the voting process, the ruling ZANU-PF party has already started canvassing for votes and parceling food handouts in various constituencies of the country.