BY SHARON BUWERIMWE THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is under fire for presiding over alleged gross irregularities in the weekend Gokwe-Kabuyuni parliamentary by-election.
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party is disputing the credibility of the by-election, characterised by violence and alleged assisted voting of more than 1 400 people, while its polling agents were reportedly chased away at some polling stations.
Civil society organisations have also weighed in criticising Zec’s apparent indifference to the irregularities.
The ruling Zanu PF party retained the Gokwe-Kabuyuni constituency seat after its candidate Spencer Tshuma polled 10 727 votes against CCC’s Costin Muguti, who garnered 4 800.
The seat fell vacant following the death in a car accident of Zanu PF MP Leonard Chikomba.
Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana tweeted saying the voters roll used was credible.
“Voters roll display at polling stations two days before by-election assisting voters to know their eligibility to participate in the elections. This has silenced the voters roll credibility allegations,” Mangwana tweeted.
But critics said Mangwana failed to address issues of intimidation, vote buying and violence that characterised the by-election.
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Election Resource Centre programmes manager Solomon Bobosibunu said: “It’s a shameful act for Zec to be clapping hands for itself. According to the Constitution, Zec should provide the voters roll. If it is not providing that voters roll to others, it remains as a secret, and it cannot tell us that it’s a good document.
“It should share the voters roll with all stakeholders. It needs to be very honest and open. If it’s a clean voters’ roll, why are they not giving it to stakeholders who are requesting it.
“We have been requesting this voters roll for the 15th time now and we were not getting it. So they can’t clap hands for what happened in Gokwe. They should be serious.”
Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairperson Andrew Makoni said he was still waiting for a full report to comment on the just-ended by-election.
“I’m yet to receive a report of what happened on the day so that I respond comprehensively,” Makoni said.
Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust executive director Ignatius Sadziwa said: “Zec must stop hallucinating and get real. The voters roll is a requirement to election stakeholders as per the dictates of the Constitution, thus they can’t brag about that.
“Releasing the voters roll piecemeal, albeit at the eleventh hour cannot be said to be a noble practice. We expect better. The voters’ roll must be availed in its entirety for auditing in the spirit of electoral integrity and transparency.”
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