HARARE, The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which is conducting a voter registration mop-up exercise from Jan 10 to Feb 8, is now targeting to register at least 5.5 million potential voters, down from the initial target of 7.0 million.

The ZEC conducted a Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise from Sept 14 to Dec 19 last year which captured 4,879,482 voters countrywide but because of representations from various stakeholders concerning those who could not register owing to various challenges, the commission decided to extend the exercise.

ZEC acting chairperson Emmanuel Magade says 2,850 mobile and 87 static voter registration centres have been established throughout the country for the exercise. A total of 446 BVR kits are being utilized during the period.

"Out of the total number of 446 kits deployed, the Commission will deploy 87 kits at static centres which include Provinces, Districts and Sub-District Offices. The remaining 359 kits will be roving and the Commission will publish the itinerary," he said.

"It should be noted that the extension of the BVR exercise is being done in the spirit of inclusivity so that no eligible Zimbabwean registrant is left out of the process."

Magade said the Commission was ready to conduct a free, fair and credible election.

ZEC Chief Elections Officer Constance Chigwamba said after conclusion of the mop-up exercise, voter registration would still be open at 63 permanent district centres across the country and would be closed 12 days after sitting of the nomination court.

Zimbabwe is using the BVR system for the first time and will establish a new voter's roll ahead of elections later this year.

The system identifies eligible voters using unique individual identification techniques such as fingerprints and irises.

Previously, voters just used their national identification documents (IDs) when registering and to vote.