Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) preparedness to hold the upcoming 2023 election has come under the spotlight after experiencing some logistical hurdles in handling the just ended by-election across vacant seats across the country.
Issues raised by observers included discrepancies and some people missing their names on the voter’s roll, some being turned back due to lack of proper voter education and lack of proper equipment such as indelible ink, tents, pens and proper lighting.
The pouring rains did not make it any better, as ZEC was caught by surprise with some tents reportedly leaking and slowing down the voting process.
In response to this, CCC spokesperson Fadzai Mahere said, “We have said that this by-election was a dry run to next year’s general elections and we wanted to put ZEC to a serious test to see if it is capable and today we can safely say ZEC has failed the citizens.”
“We have had several issues whereby our polling agents were turned away and names of voters were moved from one constituency to the other. We have received reports of violence in Kwekwe; our agents are being beaten up. We are saying violence should be a thing of the part,” she said.
In another isolated case, the ZANU PF candidate for Mkoba was reported to have been distributing fliers within the vicinity of Mkoba 13 PolyClinic polling station on voting day, violating the Electoral Act yet the commission did not react to some raised anomalies.
A lot of efforts by independent organizations, the civic society, the government, and some political parties have been put in place to try and create political opportunities for women in Zimbabwe.
Such anomalies and discrepancies can have a major contribution to voter apathy in Zimbabwe with this just ended election attracting 35% of the voters.
As of 8 January 2022, there were over 3 million female registered voters against around 2.6 million male registered voters.
118 candidates were contesting, and only 12 were part of the running candidates.
Statistics from ZEC shows that in the local authority by-election, only 15.5% of the winning candidate were women while in the national assembly 21% of the winners were women.
ZANU PF fielded the most female candidates(5), followed by CCC which fielded 3 candidates ahead of 2 candidates from MAAT Zimbabwe.
Other political parties that had a female candidate include, UZA, NPF, UZA, and 1 independent candidate.
This depicts that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to open up spaces for women to participate in the electoral processes.
As we wind up this women’s celebration month advocacy must be directed towards creating a conducive political environment for gender equity.