Report on Tsholotsho and Hwedza Rural District Councils By-Elections

On 9 November 2019, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission held local authority by-elections in three Rural District Councils names; Tsholotsho Ward 16 and Ward 20, and Wedza Ward 4.

The by-elections were held in accordance with section 121A of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13). The Tsholotsho by-elections were conducted following the expulsion of former ZANU-PF Councillors, Ngwenya Patrick Hlakaza for Ward 16 and Gideon Ndlovu for Ward 20, who were accused of embezzling Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) funds. On the other hand, the Wedza RDC Ward 4 seat fell vacant following the death of former ZANU-PF Councillor, Alderman Samson Makamba. ZANU-PF and the MDC Alliance are the two political parties that fielded candidates to contests in all the three by-elections.

On polling day ZESN deployed static observers to cover 8 of the 13 polling stations that were set up for the three local authority by-elections. ZESN also deployed observers who tracked political and electoral developments which occurred several days ahead of the by-elections.

Overall, the campaigns by the electoral contestants were low key, mostly constituting meetings in the ward and door to door campaigns. ZANU-PF won all the three by-elections with huge margins, namely 92% (Wedza Ward 4), 80% (Tsholotsho Ward 16) and 95% (Tsholotsho Ward 20) share of the votes cast respectively. Regrettably none of the contesting political parties fielded any female candidates in the three by-elections.

The voter population in the three wards changed slightly between 2018 and 2019 as follows Ward 4 Wedza reduced by 4 people, Ward 16 Tsholotsho reduced by 10 persons, and Ward 20 Tsholotsho reduced by 7 people.

Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)

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