Members of the apostolic church have called upon government to relax the stringent poll registration requirements as they seek to get identity cards and birth certificates.
At a meeting with ZEC recently, Bishop Oliver Gwata, coordinator of the United Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe, said there are in a catch 20.
“Our children requiring registration are being told to bring their parents birth certificates but then most of the parents do not have such so the children who are now above 18 end up being turned away,” said Gwata.
With elections fast approaching, government rolled out a mobile voter exercise that enables people to also obtain national registration papers such as IDs.
However, for members of the apostolic church known for shunning national health institutions it has not been rosy.
Joyce Kazembe, deputy commissioner ZEC urged the conservative members of the apostolic church to conform to the laws of the country.
“The laws of the country must be followed whatever you are. Your church should not block women from obtaining birth certificates because a person cannot go to school without a birth certificate please be warned otherwise you will be breaking the law,” said Kazembe.
Churches such as the Johanne Marange, have on several occasions clashed with government as they resist health programme such as vaccinations and also family birth control.
However, with polls imminent Gwata said members are wary of being left out.
“We would like to participate in elections and government should make it easy for us to be involved. We are in a situation where the whole family does not have a bith certificates and this means we will be left out during the elections.
“Most of the children don’t go to school and girls are married early so there do not have a voice but we hope in the mobile voter registration exercise we will be able to participate,” he said.