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of the 2005 Zimbabwe Parliamentary Elections Polling Stations
March 24, 2005
See also report
on polling stations by Zimbabwe Election Support Network
of the polling stations in Zimbabwe (2005) is on going and the following
are highlights of some irregularities in the location of the Polling
Stations. The location of these Stations raises eyebrows as it may
leave room for vote rigging as well as voter intimidation.
It has been
observed that fewer polling stations (with an average of about 30)
have been allocated to urban constituencies regardless of the huge
populations in these areas. It is very possible, that with the one-day
voting period, most of the urban voters may not be able to vote.
in most rural areas have been located very close to each other with
a distance of less than 5km from each other. For example, in Zvimba
South Constituency, Stations like Kutama Day Primary, Kutama Day
Secondary and Kutama Farm Primary are all under one area. The location
of these stations may intimidate voters as others have argued that
this may mean that every Traditional Leader in the area will have
to go with "his people" to vote and if not in good books
with the leader it will be difficult for one to vote. This also
means that every person who goes to vote at that particular station
will be under very close scrutiny from the traditional leaders.
polling stations have been set up in the "new" resettlement
areas where most of the said "War-veterans" reside. It
is believed in these areas there are supposed to be many Zanu PF
supporters who participated in the land invasions. Hence, the ruling
party is bound to have much support in these areas and as a result
more Polling Stations than anticipated for have been sited in these
areas. Such is the case for instance in Bindura, out of 83 Stations,
43 of these stations are sited in the "new" resettlement
areas and the remainder are split between Bindura urban and Bindura
rural. This gives the ruling party an enormous advantage as they
have established more and more stations in the areas where they
think they have a strong support base.
a different note, the delimitation committee has merged Mbare East
and West constituencies into one constituency and the reasons for
this are best known to themselves. Also a new constituency named
Manyame has been created and this is believed to be another area
where Zanu PF has a strong support base. It is important to bear
in mind that this new constituency is made up of the "new"
resettlement areas, meaning most of the occupants of this new constituency
are War-Veterans and Zanu PF youths/supporters.
In other urban
constituencies, rural areas have been deliberately slotted in the
urban constituencies so as to "dilute" the votes of the
urban people, as it is a well-known fact that urban dwellers are
most likely to vote against the ruling party. In Masvingo Central
for example, it has been noted that areas like Shonganiso Primary
School, which is only a few kilometers from Zaka, Chatikobo Primary
School, Chenhowe Business Centre and Nemamwa Primary School, have
all been slotted into Masvingo Urban Constituency. This has not
only happened in Masvingo but in other areas also.
One can argue
that some of the Polling Stations have been wrongly located and
this was done deliberately so as to allow for vote rigging. For
example, in Mutoko North it has been established that Mutoko Ruins
have been turned into a Polling Station when it is a well-known
fact that no one lives in the ruins. Should ballot boxes with large
numbers of votes emerge from these areas (where there are no people)
the legitimacy of these elections could be reasonably contested.
It has been established as well that in this constituency, a homestead
of one chief has also been turned into a Polling Station. This will
obviously bar some people, especially members from the opposition,
from voting as they are most likely not going to be welcomed at
the Chief’s place.
In some areas
homesteads have been turned into Polling Stations for example, Pazvakavambwa
Homestead in Sanyati, Noah Kubvura Homestead, Tizora Homestead and
Hodzi Homestead, all in Mudzi West Constituency.
Youth Training Centers have been turned into Polling Stations to
be. Some of the Youth Training Centers that have been turned into
Polling Stations are Magamba Training Center (Mutasa South), Mashayamombe
Training Center (Mhondoro), Kaguvi Training Center (Gweru rural),
Chaminuka TC (Mount Darwin South), Mount View TC (Marondera East),
Mbuya Nehanda TC (Seke) and lastly Mount Hampden TC (Manyame). These
centers are known to be inaccessible to ordinary citizens. This
will restrict the registered voters in these constituencies to the
alternate polling stations. One might therefore assume that not
all the people would be able to vote in one day particularly if
there are serious delays at the "neutral" stations. Likewise,
some Prison Farms have also been turned into polling Stations, for
example, Mazowe Prison Farm.
Stations are set in places like quarries where only a few people
reside temporarily as workers. Manwick Quarry in Mutoko North is
one such station. It is possible that this place would be closed
on the voting day since it will be a holiday and most industrial
companies are likely to close just before the Easter holiday and
reopen after the Election Day.
are some centers that have been noted to be non-existant. Such places
include Lot Hall in Mutoko North and Chachachunda Business Center
in Hwange East.
Officers as a norm are members of the Civil Service, but an analysis
of the list of the presiding officer indicates that members of the
Army have also been elected as Presiding Officers. It is not clear
whether members of Zimbabwe National Army should be called "civil
servants". The notion of employing members of the ZNA as Presiding
Officers will leave room for voter intimidation particularly in
the rural areas.
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