Mid Day Statement on the Lupane East National Assembly, Nkayi Rural District Council Ward23 and Bubi Rural District Council Ward 22 By-Elections

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has deployed polling station-based observers to observe and report on the upane East Constituency National Assembly, Nkayi Rural District Council (RDC) Ward 23 and Bubi RDC Ward 22 by-elections. In Lupane East constituency, ZESN has comprehensively deployed 62 observers who are covering all polling stations in the constituency. The constituency faces severe network challenges in some areas, particularly Wards 6, 7 and 10 hence by 12 noon, some of the deployed observers had not been able to send in their reports. To complement the polling station observers, ZESN has deployed two roving teams that are also observing the general political environment around the polling stations and also providing support to the deployed static observers. In Bubi Ward 22 ZESN has deployed three observers out of 5 polling stations while in Nkayi Ward 23, it has deployed 3 observers out of 4 polling stations.

This midday statement is based on reports received as of 12 noon from observers who have managed to send through their reports, given the network challenges.

Opening and set up of polling stations

Based on reports from 44 out of 62 observers in Lupane East, 44 polling stations opened on time (by 07:15am) with only one, Malumba Primary School opening between 7.16 am- 8am. All 44 reported polling stations had materials needed for polling such as a ballot box, correct ballot papers, indelible ink, biometric voters roll and official ZEC stamp. In all of these polling stations, the ballot box was shown to be empty before voting commenced. The polling stations were set up so voters could mark their ballots in secret and were easily accessible to persons with disabilities. Reports received from Nkayi and Bubi observers indicate that polling stations opened time, had sufficient polling materials and that due procedures were adhered to.

Political environment

The political environment in the 3 places where by elections are being conducted has so far been reported to be serene and peaceful with no incident or electoral malpractice having been reported.

Party agents

ZANU PF and MDC Alliance comprehensively deployed their party agents in Lupane East. 42 of the polling stations reported had an MDC Alliance party agent present. All 44 of the polling stations reported had a ZANU PF party Agent present. 8 of the polling stations had an NCA party Agent present. 16 of polling stations had a party agent from other parties (apart from MDC Alliance, ZANU PF or NCA).

In Bubi Ward 22, ZANU PF and MDC Alliance deployed party agents comprehensively to observe the polling process.

Reports from ZESN’s mobile observation teams indicate that ZEC displayed the voters’ roll outside all polling stations which the teams have visited so far. This is the first time that the voters’ roll has been displayed outside the polling station in Zimbabwe. The adoption of this best practice has contributed to the reduction in the number of persons that have been redirected to other polling stations.

Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)