In line with its mission to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe, ZESN observed local authority by-elections in the Chitungwiza Ward 7, Mutare Ward 14 and 16, Rusape Ward 5, Pfura Ward 40, Kariba Ward 3, 4 and 8 as well as at the Ward Collation Centres. The by-election were held in accordance with Section 121 A of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) following the death of the incumbent Pfura Ward 40 Councillor Doniah Jeke and the recalls of Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi of Ward 14; Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko of Ward 7; Kariba Mayor George Masendu of Ward 4; Councillors Farai Magevha of Ward 3 and Pedzisai Munhuweyi of Ward 8 and Mutare Ward 16 Councillor Sekai Catherine Mukodza; by the MDC Alliance.
Pre-election observations were reported by ZESN observers who were deployed ahead of Election Day and who reside in their respective areas of deployment on election day. On polling day ZESN deployed thirteen (13) static observers to selected polling stations and Ward Collation Centres.
The findings and recommendations of this preliminary statement are made in reference to the Electoral Laws of Zimbabwe, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections as well as other regional and African election guidelines and principles. This preliminary statement is based on reports received from the ZESN’s observers.
CCC won in seven wards whilst ZANU-PF won in one
ZESN recommends the following, based on its observations:
- There is a need for greater political literacy amongst citizens for them to make use of political and electoral rights afforded them by the Constitution. This would translate into improved turnout for local authority by-elections which in comparison with national assembly by-elections are regarded as less important.
- Political parties must continue to call on their supporters to engage those with divergent political interests peacefully as this will enhance the credibility of elections in Zimbabwe.
- There is a need for political party leaders and their supporters to respect the civil and political rights enshrined in the Constitution, in particular freedom of association.
- Political parties should ensure their agents arrive at their assigned polling stations on time and that they observe all polling processes so that they can authoritatively comment on the polling day processes.