The Zimbabwe Sentinel-Media Centre

Telling the other story – MEDIA CENTRE

Civil society News

ZESN Releases Preliminary Report on Local Authority By-Elections

By Staff Reporter

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has released its preliminary report on the Local Authority by-elections held on March 9, 2024, in City of Harare Ward 36 and Chinhoyi Municipality Ward 4.

The by-elections, necessitated by vacancies in the respective wards, saw ZANU-PF securing victory in both contested seats.

The vacancy in Chinhoyi Municipality Ward 4 arose after the High Court nullified the victory of Archibald Muzanenhamo, an independent candidate, who had initially been declared the winner during the Harmonised Elections in August 2023.

The nullification occurred due to Muzanenhamo’s engagement in vote buying within a 300-meter radius from a polling station on Election Day, violating the Electoral Act.

In Harare Municipality Ward 36, the recall of Lovejoy Chitengu, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), led to the vacancy.

According to ZESN, the by-elections were conducted in accordance with Section 121 A of the Electoral Act.

The Nomination Court, held on February 6, 2024, received nominations for candidates in both wards, ensuring a peaceful and calm process. Notably, the legal framework for the elections was adhered to, with candidates successfully nominated for the vacant seats.

ZESN deployed 30 observers across the two wards, duly accredited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Pre-election observations revealed various campaign strategies, with candidates utilizing door-to-door campaigns, social media, and the distribution of goods such as mealie meal and road runner chicks to garner support.

Despite the tearing and defacing of posters of independent candidates in Harare Ward 36, the overall pre-election environment was peaceful.

ZESN commended the candidates for promoting peace, emphasizing the need for greater political literacy among party supporters regarding electoral regulations.

ZEC conducted voter education in both wards, and on polling day, the political environment remained calm. Polling stations were set up efficiently, with the essential materials available.

ZANU-PF and independent candidates had polling agents present, allowing for the tracking of polling processes.

The voting process, assisted voting for illiterate or physically handicapped voters, and overall procedures were in line with the law.

Voter turnout varied, with Harare Ward 36 recording a 17.8% turnout, while Chinhoyi Ward 4 saw a significantly higher turnout at 42.3%.

The number of redirected and turned away voters was relatively low, with issues including unacceptable forms of identification and names not found in the voters’ roll.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *