SEVERAL bodies monitoring yesterday’s elections including the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) and the Election Situation Room (ESR) have expressed concern over several irregularities around the polls.
BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI/TAFADZWA MUTACHA
Addressing journalists in Harare, Catholic bishop Rudolf Nyandoro said inadequate voting material at some polling stations and lack of proper voter education resulted in delays in the voting process.
“The voting process was very slow and waiting in queue has been long, particularly in highly populated areas with voters taking at least 15 minutes to complete the voting process and this might have been due to lack of proper voter education,” Nyandoro said.
The cleric added that many people came out to vote and there was need for Zec to have extended the voting period due to confusion that was experienced at some polling stations across the country.
Meanwhile, ESR steering committee members Rindai Chipfunde-Vava and Lizwe Jamela, also expressed concern over several forms of intimidation of voters which they said were perpetrated by different groups, including traditional leaders in rural areas.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava and Jamela commended citizens for voting peacefully, but were worried about some irregularities witnessed during the voting process.
“The ESR has received reports of intimidation and harassment towards the election. Many of these involved threat of removal of food aid and government projects if the voters do not vote for Zanu PF,” they said.
“Some village heads are acting as party agents in a number of areas, for instance Mt Darwin West, Mashonaland Central and Mutare West may exert undue influence on the local voting population. A number of cases of police officers and party agents going behind screens to observe voters being assisted have been reported.”
ESR said both the MDC Alliance and Zanu PF failed to observe the “cooling down period” ahead of elections stipulated by the Electoral Act when they issued statements on the eve of election.
Observers and party agents were reportedly denied entry into some polling stations in areas such as Silobela, Mutare North, Mutare West and Chakari in Mashonaland West.