On 26 October 2019, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducted a local authority by-election in Ward 12 of Chiredzi Rural District Council. The by-election was held in accordance with section 121A of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13). The by election was occasioned by the resignation of the previous councillor; Cllr Andrew Ndebele of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) party, who was elected in the July 31 2018 harmonised elections.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), as part of its observation of electoral processes, deployed static observers to comprehensively cover the two polling stations and collation centre for the Ward.
In general, the political environment ahead of the Chiredzi Ward 12 by-election was peaceful. The observers’ resident in the ward confirmed that the campaigns by the electoral contestants were low key, mostly constituting meetings in the ward and door to door campaigns. Nevertheless the most visible campaigns were by ZANU-PF party which held more meetings and even put up posters.
The voting population for the ward did not change significantly between 2018 and 2019. The number of registered voters for the Ward decreased by three from 268 in 2018 to 265 during the 2019 by-election.
ZESN observer reports indicate that polling station set-up, polling and counting procedures were executed in line with electoral procedures. The contesting political parties managed to comprehensively deploy party agents but however none of the parties fielded female candidates.
ZANU-PF won the Chiredzi Rural District Council by-election, having received 159 votes. The party received 11 more votes than it did during the 2018 Harmonised elections.
ZESN proffers the following recommendations for consideration by the ZEC and political parties.
I. Civil society organisations should provide continues to support civic and voter education initiatives emphasising, among other things, the importance of voting in by-elections.
II. ZEC should do more to inform the electorate about the displaying of the voters’ roll and encourage them to check their names before Election Day.
III. Political parties should do more to encourage the participation of women as electoral candidates.
Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Netwrok (ZESN)