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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles


  • Report on the local authority run–off elections
    Election Resource Centre
    September 13, 2013

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    Executive Summary

    The Election Resource Centre (ERC), an independent electoral institution fully registered in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe and has been working around elections since 2010, received accreditation to observe the September 11th 2013, run-off ward elections in 3 wards found in Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Matebeleland North. This follows the ERC’s successful application and observation of the July 31st 2013, harmonised election together with the Constitutional Referendum of March 2013. Run-off elections are provided for in Section 129 of the Electoral Act.

    The run-off elections were held in Ward 30, Mutasa Rural District Council (RDC) and Ward 5, Kusile RDC both rural and Ward 4, Kadoma Municipality which is wholly urban. The two rural wards are largely peasantry, whilst the urban ward, consists of a mixed group of both formally and informally employed residents. The rural wards have a direct interface with traditional leadership.

    It should be noted that the run-off elections arose as a result of the major political parties getting exactly the same number of votes during the disputed 31st July 2013 election. In previous years, including in the 2008 election, the official response to candidates getting the same number of votes was addressed through the tossing of a coin to determine the winner. The conduct of run-off by elections forwards was introduced through Statutory Instrument 85 of 2013 which repealed the previous section 129 of the Electoral Act. A similar process will happen in the election of mayor in towns (Kwekwe, Rusape and Plumtree) in which political parties have the same number of elected councillors. In Kariba in 2008, one of 10 wards recorded a tie in the number of votes garnered by the major contenders resulting in the election being concluded by the drawing of lots. The conduct of run off elections is relatively new in Zimbabwe’s electoral history with the first one ever, being the June 2008 Presidential attempt.

    During the run-off elections, the ERC was able to deploy mobile teams to cover the 9 polling stations that had been set up while also heavily depending on civic activists drawn from partnering organisations to share information around the election via SMS, Facebook, Twitter and an information sharing platform that was set up on the ERC website.

    While the ERC deployed 3 mobile teams on polling day, pre-election observation of the same election had been on going through community members who voluntarily shared information on related pre-election activities such as voter education and campaigning. For the purposes of the 3 run-off elections, there was no fresh registration of voters that was undertaken since the electoral law insists on the use of the same voters’ roll as the one used on the 31st of July 2013.

    It is also essential to note that the ward run-off elections of September 2013 were also of particular importance to Zimbabwe’s political history as they marked the first election since the contested July 31st poll and from a technical and political view point, they presented an opportunity to assess the capacity of Zimbabweans to engage in a political contest, albeit at a very small scale, given the volatility of the political environment as the previous election stood contested. The poll further provided an opportunity to assess the capacity of the election management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, to respond to challenges noted by observers, both domestic and international as well as political parties on the July 31st 2013 election.

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