Election Observers deployed by Heal Zimbabwe in the just ended by-elections have expressed concern over the ability of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to preside over free and fair elections. This came out in the end of election reports received by Heal Zimbabwe from its Observers.
Observers noted that in most cases, ZEC turned away several registered voters while in some cases the ruling party, ZANU PF violated the Electoral Act by campaigning around polling stations on the day of the election.” Here in Chivi South, ZEC Officials did nothing to stop ZANU PF branded vehicles from campaigning around polling stations. We even reported this anomaly to ZEC officials but nothing was done”, read part of the report. Observers noted that such flagrant disregard of the Electoral Act casts in doubt ZEC’s capacity to preside over free and fair elections in 2023. The reports also noted that the collection of voters addresses and phone numbers under the guise of COVID 19 contact tracing by ZEC at polling stations was also an act of intimidation to some voters.” Here in Gokwe Central, ZANU PF local leaders told people at most polling stations that the exercise by ZEC of collecting details of voters was meant to identify which candidates voters were going to vote for and then the people were going to be traced to their homes”, added one Observer during a post election meeting with Heal Zimbabwe.
As part of solutions to counter electoral malpractices, the Observers noted that ZEC was supposed to be truly independent and discharge its constitutional obligations without favour or bias. They noted that there is also need for ZEC to furnish political parties with the voters roll ahead of time so that anomalies can be addressed. Heal Zimbabwe will produce a comprehensive report that covers key observations from the By Election.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe