VOTING ENDS AMID POOR TURNOUT

Voting has closed in Marondera Central, Mbire and Epworth by-elections and counting is now underway.

Poor turnout marked the by-elections. Polling stations opened at 7.am and election observers from ZESN, British and Swedish embassies were on the ground. 

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau toured some polling stations in Marondera Central constituency with Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa. 
Justice Makarau said the Marondera Central by-election is being used as a pilot project for the polling station specific voting system which she said has gone well so far. 48 polling stations opened in 15 wards in Mbire constituency and over 5000 people have so far cast their vote.


Marondera Central and Mbire constituencies fell vacant following the expulsion of ex-legislators, Ray Kaukonde and David Butau respectively from the ruling Zanu PF party and parliament, while Epworth by-elections follow the death of ex-legislator, Cde Amos Midzi.

ZESN observers have reported that the police are actively involved in the election process including assisting voters. ZESN repeats its calls for the role of the police to be limited to maintain law and order in line with international best norms and standards.

As in previous elections there are significant numbers of assisted voters with reports from Mahuwe primary school showing that by midday 38 people had been assisted to vote. Of concern is a report from a ZESN observer that a former ZANU PF district chairperson was also assisted.

In Marondera Central constituency where ZEC is piloting the polling station based voting system, ZESN has noted the use of polling station based voters’ rolls as well as a supplementary roll based on the previous ward based voters’ rolls. The supplementary voters’ roll is being used to redirect voters who missed the polling station based voter registration exercise to their specific polling stations based on their addresses. It is critical to ensure that all eligible voters are given an equal opportunity to vote.

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