The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has deployed polling station-based observers to observe and report on the Nyanga Rural District Council (RDC) Ward 26 and Bikita RDC Ward 31 by-elections. ZESN observers are covering three of the four polling stations in the Nyanga by-election and two of the five in the Bikita by-election. This statement is based on reports received from ZESN so far and is specific to the polling stations where ZESN has observers.
Opening and set up of polling stations
ZESN observers have reported that polling stations opened on time with procedures being adhered to including showing the ballot boxes to be empty before polling started. All the materials needed for polling such as ballot boxes; indelible ink; the stamp to mark ballot papers; and ballot papers were reported to be available at all observed polling stations.
So far, the environment in both Wards has been reported to be peaceful. No incident or electoral malpractice has been reported.
ZANU PF and MDC Alliance deployed their party agents at all polling stations where ZESN has observers, however, NCA did not deploy polling agents at Chikaka and Mandadzaka Primary Schools in Bikita where the party is contesting. The NCA is not contesting in the Nyanga by-election.
As of midday, the number of assisted voters was high at some polling stations and low at others. For example, 19 people had been assisted to vote at Chikaka Primary School and 20 had been assisted at Mandadzaka Primary School in Bikita. Most of the assisted voters were assisted on account of illiteracy. Other polling stations recorded low numbers of assisted voters, for example only three voters and one voter at Erin forest and Selborne polling stations in Nyanga.
Turnout was generally low as of midday at the polling stations in both by-elections where ZESN had observers. It was fairly high at Mandadzaka Primary School in Bikita where 197 out of 463 registered voters had voted and at Erin forest in Nyanga where it was above 200. Turnout was lower at the other polling stations.
Turned away voters
Some polling stations had recorded rather high numbers of turned away voters. For example, 13 voters had been turned away at Erin forest polling station in Nyanga for not being on the voters’ roll and producing the wrong identity documents. Seven had been turned away at Chikaka Primary School in Bikita.
The number of redirected voters differed at polling stations in the by-elections. At Selborne polling station in Nyanga, six voters had been redirected to other polling stations, of whom two contended that they voted at the same polling station in the harmonised elections. Only one person had been redirected as of midday at Chikaka polling station in Bikita.
Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)