GOVERNMENT'S failure to issue national identity document (ID) cards has become a major threat to elections in the country and should be addressed as a matter of urgency, an election watchdog has said.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) called on government to capacitate the Civil Registry to enable it to secure consumables needed in the production of IDs to allow eligible voters to register to vote.

"Voting is a democratic right which only those who are registered to vote can enjoy. A national ID or valid passport is a requirement for one to be able to register to vote. Young people, citizens who lost IDs and those who have become eligible have been finding it difficult to get the IDs, threatening their disenfranchisement in electoral processes," Zesn said

The Civil Registry is struggling to provide ID's and passports for citizens, critical documents needed for voter registration, voting and access to basic services.

Early this week, the Home Affairs ministry revealed that some of the Civil Registry offices had stopped issuing the plastic IDs owing to lack of consumables.

"Further, there is a need to decentralise the issuance of national documents to enable all citizens and youths, including those in high schools who have attained the voting age, to take part in voter registration which is a key electoral process that bears on the overall credibility of an election," Zesn added.

Opposition parties recently expressed concern over government's failure to issue identity documents.