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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
First day of special voting marred by serious logistical nightmares
Election Support Network
July 14, 2013
Election Support Network (ZESN) observed the beginning of the special
voting for uniformed forces and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) officials in various parts of the country. ZESN is concerned
about the disorganised and delayed start to the voting process and
multiple problems that hampered the beginning of the special vote.
The network deployed one observer in each of the polling centres
across the country.
have reported recurrent problems in all polling stations around
the country. These included the late opening of polling stations,
shortage of sensitive voting materials such as indelible ink, ZEC
stamps, ballot papers and boxes.
There was lack
of consistency at polling stations on the availability of electronic
and hard copies of the voters’ roll and the slow pace of voting,
in areas where the process had commenced.
In most of the
centres ZESN observers noted that voting did not start at stipulated
time. At some polling stations for example at Dangababi primary
school in Bubi district Matabeleland North, voting commenced at
1500 hours. Furthermore, some polling stations only received ballot
papers after 1400hrs such as Fatima high school in Lupane district
and Bubi Tatazela hall, which points to the lack of preparedness
of ZEC for the Special Voting Exercise.
problems were widespread across the country as observed in the following
centres; Madziva secondary school in Shamva, Chimhanda secondary
school, Bindura primary school and Nzvimbo community centre all
in Mashonaland Central province; Jameson high school and Inkomo
Barracks in Mashonaland West province, Chirundu border post, Mai
Musodzi hall in Mbare suburb, Highfield 1 high school in Harare
province; Nyazura, Nyanga, Odzi in Manicaland province; Matabeleland
South, Farmers hall, Murehwa district offices in Mashonaland East
province, Bulawayo City Hall and Nketa primary school in Bulawayo,
Esigodini in Matabeleland South province.
witnessed commotion at Mount Pleasant Hall in Harare province involving
voters lined up to cast their vote. Voters who had gathered to vote
at the polling station became impatient after some of their envelopes
containing ballot papers to enable them to vote were not found.
The commotion only subsided after senior police officers intervened
and admonished the voters. At Chimanimani Court, Manicaland two
polling agents were involved in a physical clash. It is reported
that an MDC-T polling agent identified a Zanu-PF polling agent as
a policeman and a brawl ensued leading to a temporary stoppage of
reported the absence of party agents for all political parties in
most polling stations such as Mberengwa Primary School in Midlands
Province. This could show that some parties were not prepared to
observe the process.
At Inkomo Barracks
tent in Mashonaland West province, a ZESN observer noted that ballot
papers had been changed because alterations were being made on ballot
papers due to the withdrawal of some election candidates. At Odzi
primary school in Manicaland province, a presiding officer had to
intervene to stop the playing of some revolutionary music at a residence
located near a polling station which was seen as campaigning within
200 metres of the polling station.
notes with concern that by end of first day of polling ZEC had not
yet dispatched voting materials to Masvingo Province. Given the
challenges experienced on the first day, ZESN is wondering whether
or not ZEC will be able to overcome these shortfalls and ensure
that all eligible special voters cast their vote by close of polls
tomorrow. With only 17 days before the holding of the harmonised
elections on July 31, the ZEC's handling of the special vote raises
questions on the Commission's preparedness to conduct the national
urges ZEC to assure the nation that they have the capacity to run
and manage the impending harmonised elections.
ZESN calls upon
ZEC to immediately intervene and correct the anomalies noted by
our observers. We reiterate our call for uploading the electronic
copies of the final Voters Roll with updates of voters registered
during the mobile registration exercise from 10 June to 09 July
2013 on the ZEC website to enable citizens to continue to inspect
and check their names.
committed to promoting a free and fair election where each eligible
voter has an opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
All this is
happening in the context of a pending High Court urgent chamber
application filed by the MDC-T concerning anomalies between those
who applied to vote under the special voting and the actual number
of uniformed forces employed by the government.
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