On 23 February 2019, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducted three Local Authority by-elections, in Ward 24 of Chitungwiza South Municipality, Ward 15 of Beitbridge Rural District Council, and Ward 25 of Matobo North Rural District Council. The by-elections were held in accordance with section 158(3) and 159 of the Constitution, and section 39 of the Electoral Act to replace incumbent councillors who died in 2018. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), as part of its observation of the by-elections, deployed static observers to comprehensively cover all polling stations during the 23 February by-elections. In addition, roving observers were deployed to observe the environment around the polling stations.
ZESN proffers the following recommendations for consideration by the ZEC and political parties:
- ZEC should open registration centres within the wards or Constituencies where by-elections are scheduled to facilitate voter registration of new registrants’ e.g. those who turned 18 after the 2018 harmonised elections.
- Political parties are urged to comprehensively deploy party agents to all polling stations to enable them to authoritatively comment on Election Day proceedings.
- Political party representatives who are interested in accessing the polling stations should get the requisite accreditation.
- Political parties are urged to field more youth and female candidates in keeping with the current demographic of the demographic in the constituencies they wish to represent.
- There is need for continuous voter education to improve prospective voters understanding of electoral processes as well as awareness of the specific polling stations they are eligible to cast their vote at, during the by-elections.
Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)