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Senate Elections Results & Index of articles
voter turn out recorded since 1980
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)
November 27, 2005
Results of the 2005 Senate Elections and Gutu North Parliamentary
Election Support Network (ZESN) fielded 42 mobile observers in the
17 of the 31 contested senatorial constituencies. These constituencies
are; Harare-Mabvuku-Tafara, Harare-Mbare-Hatfield, Chitungwiza,
Masvingo, Gutu, Chivi-Mwenezi, Hwange East, Bubi-Umguza , Gwanda,
Insiza, Beitbridge, Tsholotsho-Hwange, Bulawayo -Makokoba, Pumula
- Luveve, Bulawayo - Nkulumane, Mpopoma - Pelandaba and Lobengula
- Magwegwe as well as the Gutu North parliamentary constituency
by - election.
The ZESN observers witnessed unimpeded opening of polling stations,
voting process, closing and counting of votes.
were characterised with the lowest voter turn out since independence.
So far the average percentage poll of less than 30%, is the lowest
ever recorded from 1980.The lowest poll prior to that was the 1996
Presidential election which recorded 32.3% poll. This clearly implies
a protest vote by Zimbabweans against the status quo.
elections were generally peaceful except for one isolated skirmish
at Zengeza 7 Primary School, in Chitungwiza, where two youths were
allegedly interfering with voters and were later arrested by the
There were also
few opposition party agents in most polling stations. In addition,
very few international observers were noted.
In all polling
stations that ZESN observers visited, the voting process was smooth.
The major concern was the high number of the so called 'aliens'
that were disenfranchised.
low turn out
As mentioned in our previous preliminary reports, ZESN attributes
the low turn out to a number of factors. These include, amongst
others, questioning the role of the senate and senators and the
importance of voting, dwindling interest in the integrity of the
ballot, the current economic hardships, the political crisis as
well as lack of adequate voter education and information, especially
knowledge and rationale of the new senatorial constituencies.
It is sad to
note that the government has rushed to hold elections with inadequate
electoral reforms and internal consensus at the expense of critical
socio-economic issues. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has held more than 20
major elections, which include 2 parliamentary elections, 16 parliamentary
by-elections, one constitutional referendum, one presidential election,
and several Mayoral elections as well as other local authority elections.
The divisions in the MDC, certainly had an impact on the low turn
out. However, the low vote turn out could be a dissatisfaction with
the current status quo.
The untimely scheduling of the election led to early closure of
schools that resulted in the disruption of classes and major examinations
like O' Level and A' Level. The elections were prioritised ahead
of critical basic rights such as health amid reports that the major
referral hospital such as Harare Hospital was threatened with closure
due to critical shortages in medication, equipment and human resources.
The timing has
also been coupled with a pending crisis, which includes the persistent
shortages of fuel and basic commodities. This had a negative impact,
not only on the voters but also on election observation, monitoring
and general logistical support services necessary for the efficient
running of elections. These elections, coming eight months after
the March general elections are too costly and overburdening an
Overally, the low voter turn out can mean, dissatisfaction with
the status quo. However, ZESN is concerned that, the outcome effectively
entrenches the over dominance of one party. Furthermore, the low
voter turn out has a significant impact on the legitimacy and integrity
of the senate, both the elected and the unopposed senators.
ZESN is also
concerned with the increasing weakening of in internal democracy
within major political parties.
for way forward
We reiterate the following issues;
- The need
to allow all bona fide Zimbabweans the right to vote. The newly
introduced category of aliens under Constitutional Amendment No.
17 is grossly unfair
- An electoral
system that is inclusive and in particular encompasses a strong
component of Proportional Representation
- The need
to ensure adequate representation of women in Parliament in compliance
with SADC and international protocols on gender.
- Removal of
appointed senators which gives unfair advantage to the incumbent
- The need
for continuous voter education by all stakeholders.
- A people
driven constitution that encompasses an enabling electoral environment.
- The creation
of a conducive environment that encourages full participation
in economic and political development
ZESN urges all
stakeholders to put aside their differences and work for the common
good and development of the country.
Matchaba-Hove (National Chairperson)
Visit the ZESN
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