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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • ZESN observes 2013 harmonised elections
    Zimbabwe Election Support Network
    July 31, 2013

    The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) is observing the 2013 harmonized elections in a calm and peaceful environment. Most polling stations opened on time with adequate voting materials available.

    It is regrettable that the voters’ roll remained unavailable and this can potentially undermine the credibility of the electoral process. Also of major concern was the delayed release, distribution and the non- availability of the electronic and hard copies of the voters roll particularly to contesting political parties. ZESN noted the following issues regarding the voters’ roll;

    • Some who voted in the special voting process, had not had their names removed from the voters’ roll.
    • Registered voters who voted in previous elections did not appear on the voters’ roll.
    • Some who claim to have not voted in the special voting process had their names crossed out of the voters’ roll.
    • Some people’s registration slips did not disclose the ward but constituency and block. As a result some people were referred to the constituency command centres where they were either assisted or not. The Ward based voting system was confusing and many as a result were turned away.

    ZESN is also concerned by reports filtering in from various provinces regarding disruptions in the voting process and the high numbers of assisted voters particularly in Mashonaland East, West and Masvingo provinces. For example, in Goromonzi South Mashonaland East, at one polling station voters in this area have been assisted to vote by the same three people from their area while others were provided an opportunity to be assisted by people of their choice.

    In a related incident, known MDC-T supporters from Muzarabani North constituency were allegedly ordered by Zanu-PF officials to declare that they are illiterate and were assigned people who assisted them to vote. Only the headman and his wife voted freely with about 40 to 50 people being assisted to vote at Nyadukutu primary school. In Mutare South, Ward 2, at Gutaurare School as at 1300hours 50 assisted voters had been recorded. In Midlands those who are illiterate, were not being given a chance to choose a person who can assist them as stated by Section 59 of the Electoral Act.

    The disruption of voting in Chipinge South as a result of an error by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). ZESN observers reported that ZEC had switched candidates’ pictures on the ballot papers and voting had to be stopped temporarily as the ZEC tried to rectify the problem.

    ZESN also notes the harassment and intimidation of voters by traditional leaders in Provinces such as Masvingo and Mashonaland East. There have also been reports of voters being instructed to register their names and serial numbers of their ballot papers at desks set up in some areas.

    In addition, ZESN has received reports of missing ballot papers in areas such as Nkulumane in Bulawayo and inadequate ballot papers in areas like Goromonzi South. At Gutaurare School in Mutare South Ward 22 and Gwanda Central, voting was put on hold after ballot papers for Ward councillors ran out. ZESN also observed varying treatment of voters where some voters were turned away despite having produced a voters’ slip. Voters in Mutare South constituency who have voter registration slips were being turned away on allegations that their names do not appear on the voters roll.

    Furthermore we noted that the inconsistent treatment of the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and people living with disabilities at polling stations.

    ZESN continues to encourage all registered voters to exercise their right to vote within the few hours left before polling stations close at 7pm.

    ZESN has set up hotlines for citizens to share their views and comments about the Harmonised Elections. The contact numbers will be: 0771692029, and 0771692032. Citizens can also participate on our social media platforms; andTwitter handle: #ZESN1.

    ZESN will be issuing updates on the entire process and will issue its Preliminary Statement on the harmonised elections on Thursday 01 August at a time to be advised.

    Visit the ZESN fact sheet

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