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Mberengwa, Nyanga by-election environment should replicate at next year's elections

by Zesn
10 Oct 2022 at 06:12hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has deployed six static observers in Mberengwa ward 15 and Nyanga ward 27 as well as observers at the ward collation centres and a roving team to the local authority by-elections.

The by-elections are being held in accordance with section 121A of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] following the death of the incumbent councillors for Mberengwa ward 15, Ravasingadi Zhou and Collins Matongo of Nyanga ward 27, respectively, both representing the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The Nomination Court sat on Friday August 19, 2022 to receive nominations of prospective candidates.

Two candidates, Nkonzo Albenias of Zanu-PF, and Conias Dhongijena of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), were duly nominated as candidates for Mberengwa ward 15, while Taurai Artwell Tichiwangani of CCC and Simon Nyazenga of Zanu-PF, were candidates for Nyanga ward 27 at the close of sitting of the Nomination Court.

As of Saturday midday, the political environment in the respective wards was reported to be peaceful. No incidents were observed and reported during the polling process.

Zesn observers reported that the voters rolls were displayed two days before polling day to allow voters to check their names before.

Zesn implored the electorate to make use of the voters roll that is displayed outside polling stations to properly identify the polling station where they are supposed to cast their vote.

The six polling stations were opened on time and all the essential polling materials such as ballot boxes, ballot papers, indelible finger markers, voters roll and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission official stamp, were available at all polling stations.

Each of the polling stations was manned by an average of eight polling officers at the time of opening.

At five of the six polling stations observed, the presiding officers were reported to be men.

Social distancing was observed, especially in polling stations where there was space.

Voters and all other stakeholders, including observers and election officials who entered polling stations, had their masks on and no one was allowed to enter the polling station without a mask.

Voters also had their hands sanitised or washed at almost every polling station.

All visitors to the polling stations were required to register their names and contact details, presumably for COVID-19 tracing.

At both polling stations, Zesn observers reported that voting was proceeding well, with all polling procedures being duly followed in accordance with the law.

The two contesting parties —  Zanu-PF and CCC — deployed their party agents to track the polling process at all the polling stations in the by-elections.

High numbers of assisted voters on account of illiteracy and visual impairment induced by old age were observed at some polling stations as of midday.

For instance, in Mberengwa ward 15 by 11am, 24 voters had been assisted at Ruzengwe polling station; 19 at Chegato Secondary School polling station; nine at Magavakava Primary School polling station and 14 at Rubweruchena Tent polling station due to illiteracy.

In Nyanga ward 27 at Raudzi Primary School polling station, one voter was assisted and five voters were assisted at Nyanzou Primary School polling station.

Some people were turned away because their names were not on the voters roll or they could not produce valid identification documents in both by-elections.

As at 11am, about 12 people were turned away at Chegato Secondary School polling station.

Out of the 12 people that had been turned away whose names were not in the voters roll, one had no identify document (ID), one was redirected to Rubweruchena Tent polling station.

Ten were turned away at Magavakava Primary School polling station as they were not in the voters roll, while eight were turned away and one redirected to Ruzengwe polling station and one had presented a torn ID.

At Raudzi Primary School polling station in Nyanga, five voters were turned away, while eight people were turned away from voting at Nyanzou Primary School polling station for the same reasons.

Zesn observers reported that at around 11am, most of the voters who were turning up to vote were predominantly women followed by elderly persons.

The participation of youths in the by-elections was noticeably low.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe
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