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All systems go for by-elections

by Staff reporter
25 Mar 2022 at 05:52hrs | Views
ALL is set for tomorrow's by-elections with both the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) saying they are ready to ensure free and credible polls that are being contested in 28 constituencies and 122 local authorities.

Altogether 1 990 polling stations have been set for the mini-elections and yesterday parties and candidates were inspecting the voters' roll as well as staging final rallies.

ZEC spokesperson, Commissioner Jasper Mangwana, said it is all systems go as the commission has done adequate preparations with no major challenges from stakeholders.

"Today (yesterday) our polling stations were open for people and candidates to inspect the voters' roll. There a few technical issues that were raised but there are being attended, however, we are ready for the by-elections," he said.

ZEC is the constitutionally mandated body that runs the country's electoral process and the chief election officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana, said the electoral management body is ready to oversee the elections which will be spread across the country.

"The commission has made adequate procurements of all required equipment and materials including the hiring of vehicles and fuel. Ballot papers were printed, distributed, and published in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act," said Mr Silaigwana.

The voters' roll, he said, will be displayed at each and every polling station for the electorate to check their names.

"Voters rolls will be displayed at each and every polling station for the electorate to check their names for a 3-day period before the polling day. The training of electoral officials is underway and is scheduled to be completed by March 23, 2022," he said.

ZEC has so far accredited a total number of 572 observers. Of the total accredited observers so far, 526 are locals while 33 are foreigners.

The commission called upon all political parties and candidates to uphold the principles of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and other stakeholders which is part of the electoral law.

Article 14(d) of the code of conduct, in particular, obliges every political party and candidate to cooperate with other parties to avoid the risk of electoral-related conflict.

Article 2(2) of the code provides that all political parties and all candidates as well as the members, and their supporters, and all stakeholders to whom it applies commit themselves in good faith to the principles spelt out therein and to promote them so that a culture of peace pervades political activity, political processes will be recognised as expressing the credible free choice of the people, and that and the result of that choice will be respected by all.

On its part, the law enforcement agents, the police said they are determined to ensure that the country has smooth by-elections.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they are already on the ground to ensure peaceful elections.

"Our officers are already firmly preparing for the by-elections. Some of our officers are receiving training on how to handle elections processes.

"Some of our officers are currently undergoing training at ZEC to familiarise themselves with electoral processes," said Snr Asst Comm Nyathi.

He urged political parties to desist from violence and hate language as that would be tantamount to breaking the law.

"We urge political parties to be responsible with their language. We want to assure Zimbabweans of a conducive environment before, during after the elections.

"We will deal decisively with some alarmists who try to cause any form of violence," he said.

In interviews, major political parties contesting in the by-elections expressed satisfaction with the process leading to tomorrow's polls.

The ruling party, Zanu-PF political Commissar Mike Bimha said the party is ready to fish from the opposition pond.

"We will fish from the opposition's pond and we are confident to win seats in the by-elections," said Bimha

Spokesperson of MDC-A, by parliamentary representation, Mr Witness Dube said his party is ready for the elections.

"We are ready. We have done justice in our campaign and on our part as we believe we have delivered our message and we have been heard. We are very happy and we hope for the history," said Mr Dube.

Efforts to get a comment from the Citizens Coalition for Change were fruitless. However, the party has since banned the public media from covering its events.

Source - The Herald
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