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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Update 1: Zimbabwe election July 2013
in Zimbabwe Coalition
July 31, 2013
Most of you
may be following the general
election in Zimbabwe through various means. We bring to you
the first of our series of updates from the ground in Zimbabwe.
We have observers on the ground: Local and regional, drawn from
not only the coalition's membership and solidarity partners from
the SADC region, but we are benefiting immensely from updates and
input from fellow CSOs more grounded in terms of numbers and coverage.
In this update
we bring to your attention the following:
- This election
is again being referred to as harmonized because of the three
tier simultaneous voting to choose the councillor, the house of
assembly representative and the President. Previously (before
2008), the president had a six-year term while the other two tiers
(council and parliament) had a five-year term, thus "un-harmonized"
in terms of years the elections would be held (just a reminder).
- Today, voting
started generally on time at most polling stations, with potential
voters having streamed in from the early hours of the day.
the environment was calm, reminiscent of the environment we witnessed
March 2008, an environment which fundamentally changed for
the worst when the nation went for the run-off presidential election
on 27 June 2013. There is therefore no cause yet for celebration
of this election as having been "peaceful".
- By yesterday,
political parties were still raising fundamental concerns as to
why the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Registrar
of Voters had failed to provide them with the updated voters roll
on time. ZEC had to convene a special meeting yesterday to try
and "resolve" this dispute although that may not be
ZEC's mandate to deal with emerging electoral disputes. At the
time of writing this update, ZEC had availed hard copies of the
voters rolls for inspection at their national office and district
offices, just 24 hours before voting, with a further pronouncement
that voters would be allowed to inspect the voters roll at the
polling stations today, something clearly impracticable. Reports
are that the updated electronic voters roll, supposedly produced
after closure of mandatory voter registration on 9 July 2013,
was never availed to political parties and any other interested
stakeholders, raising fears of the possibility of the use of a
"shambollic" voters rolls prone to manipulation.
- ZEC, through
an advert in the local daily newspapers from 2 days ago to today,
managed to account for, through listing, 9735 polling stations.
However, the same ZEC has consistently over the past day or so,
reported that there are 9760 polling stations across the country.
Media reports have also captured this. This gives credence to
fears of there being "unknown" and therefore unmonitored
and unobserved polling stations. From this official statistic,
these are 25, there could be more.
- From information
on the ground, there was an alarming number of people requiring
voting assistance even through they were visibly not handicapped
and literate enough to vote without assistance. Reports indicate
that this may have been the trend in some parts of Masvingo province.
- There were
incidents of voters being turned away after turning up at the
wrong polling stations. Polling stations were only advertised
about 48 hours before the election. This has the potential of
disenfranchising a good number of potential voters.
of our network of grounded observers reported that there was a
heavy presence of Police Officers on duty at most polling stations
(inside and outside). Although this is now permitted under our
electoral laws, in some instances the presence was too heavy and
presenting an intimidatory environment in a country where policing
is associated with human rights abuses. Rusununguko primary school
polling station in Goromonzi District (peri-urban inclining more
towards rural) is reported to have had a total of 19 police officer
- Special Vote:
There have been incidents of police officers arriving at polling
stations to vote and finding their names already crossed out from
the voters roll. If names are crossed out, it means one would
have voted already. Reasons for this could be that either the
police officers were attempting to vote again, after voting during
the shambolic special voting process or that ZEC was just inefficient
and did not have a foolproof mechanism to deal with "removing"
those who would have had voted already under special voting from
the roll. Probably the process ended up random.
as we post this, please note that there are still about two hours
to go before closure of polling stations. We are interested in reports
about whether or not those who would still be on queues would be
allowed to void as in some instances the process was reportedly
very slow. Harare South constituency reported some "abnormally"
slow voting process. Tied with this, we are interested the environment
after announcement of full results and we would wish for a situation
where the general calmness associated with the voting process remains.
Please note that some of our network partners who monitored the
environment well before voting reported isolated incidents of election
related violence. We have remained alive to this in our assessment
of not only voting today but the entire electoral process.
note that whereas we have tried our best to verify information we
receive from grounded observers, we can not guarantee its total
accuracy, although this is fairly reflective of the report and situational
We will be back
with regular updates until after announcement.
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