The CIASA deployed a mission to observe and monitor the 26 March 2022 By-Elections on whether the process is being done is in accordance with the provisions of the electoral law and international best practices. The mission is accredited by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the observers were adequately trained and equipped with tools to observe the elections and all processes involved to ensure that the team`s observation passes the test of credibility. CIASA is observing in 3 constituencies that is Mwenezi East, Chivi South and Dangamvura Chikanga together with the 4 wards in Masvingo Urban that is wards 3, 4, 5 and 7. CIASA is also using a complimentary methodology of having static and mobile teams across the targeted constituencies for wider coverage.
The CIASA observer team notes that polling stations opened at 07.00 am at all the polling stations that has been visited by CIASA observers and no observer so far has been denied entrance at all the polling stations stage.
CIASA confirms in Masvingo Urban in all 31 polling stations visited there have not been any cases of campaigns within the polling station perimeters and there has not been any cases of violence that has been recorded at this stage.
Polling materials are available and in sufficient quantities. There has been resistance by some Presiding officers in revealing serial numbers of ballot papers upon request by some observers as in the case of Chivi South at Ngundu catholic polling station. Ballot boxes and all materials are clearly labelled and comprehensively instructive to the voters. Names of voters are also displayed outside polling stations for easy access but in some instances some voters names are missing but can be found on the sms confirmation platform the *265#.
At all polling stations observed at this stage all polling officials are present and they have been generally receptive to voters and conducted themselves in a professional manner. Unfortunately, polling stations especially at schools in ward 7 Masvingo Urban such as Shakashe A and B polling stations, Ward 4 Masvingo Urban Runyararo A and B polling stations are not accessible to persons with disabilities.
Elections agents from all participating parties were available but there are isolated cases where agents from CCC arrived late after voting had commenced as in the case of Ndarama polling station Ward 5 in Masvingo. The voters have been able to cast their votes in secrecy at all polling stations currently observed.
All voters before casting their votes are being checked for ink on the prescribed left little finger on whether they have voted before and this is happening in the full glare of observers and agents.
Requisite identification details are being thoroughly checked and so far in ward 5 Masvingo Urban at the DDF polling centre in ward 5 there has been at least two cases of voters who have been turned away after coming with driver’s license.
There have been cases of voters from wards that are not participating in the by elections wanting to cast their votes due to either ignorance or lack of voter information. At DDF polling station ward 5, by midday at least 5 voters had been returned because they were not from eligible wards.
CIASA observers on the ground will be constantly monitoring the processes and will be giving regular updates through its official media channels.