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Referendum update 3
March 16, 2013
This is an account
of reports received between 14:15 and 17:15 hours. Generally the
environment remains calm as reported in most of the constituencies
save for a few incidences of coercion and intimidation.
posted from constituencies reveal a steady increase
in voter turnout as the day progressed at polling stations.
An apparent lack of voter education, firstly on the importance
of voting and secondly on the content of the draft
could partly be taken as the reasons for the poor turnout.
- Some polling
stations reportedly ran out of ballot papers in Bulawayo East,
while many stations in Harare and other centres were left with
hordes of unused ballot books.
most areas have been recording low turnout, a number of constituencies
in Tsholotsho South, Epworth (Harare), Lupane West (Jotsholo Secondary
School) have recorded high numbers to an extent that polling officials
were significantly overwhelmed.
- Youths below
the age of 18 have shown their enthusiasm to be part of the electorate
by attempting to vote in the referendum. A case in point is one
where three youths below 18 years were turned away at Prince and
Princess Crèche in Nkulumane, Bulawayo.
- There were
allegations of acts of coercion in Epworth and Muzarabani. Villagers
and residents were reportedly forced to go and vote and were also
threatened with unspecified action for failure to comply. However
the quandary notably affects those residents who are deemed aliens
and are not eligible to vote.
- The problem
of voters being turned away for their presentation of invalid
identity documents persisted throughout the day, with drivers’
licenses being the most common form of invalid identities. In
one extreme case, a voter presented a business card at Oriel Girls
High School, Harare. This common problem clearly confirms that
voter education was inadequate.
- The Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) held a briefing meeting for all stakeholders
on the Referendum process at 16:15 hours. The Commission notified
the nation on progress made and highlighted that it was facing
some communication challenges especially with some rural constituencies
in Matebeleland North and Mashonaland Central.
to follow on the closing of polling stations and counting of the
the Election Resource Centre
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