By-elections results expected today after peaceful polls 

Source: By-elections results expected today after peaceful polls  | Sunday Mail (Local News)

Sunday Mail Reporters

RESULTS of by-elections held yesterday, which were described as peaceful and incident-free, are expected today.

The by-elections were held in Seke, Goromonzi South, Pelandaba, Chegutu West, Zvimba East and Mkoba after CCC’s interim secretary-general Mr Sengezo Tshabangu recalled the party’s legislators from Parliament.

In an interview last night, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chief elections officer, Mr Utloile Silaigwana, said there was generally low voter turnout but the environment was largely peaceful.

“In terms of us being able to conduct the by-elections, we did so very well. All polling stations opened at 7am and closed at 7pm; we were adequately staffed and equipped,” he said.

“There was low voter turnout. Whilst we are waiting for the statistics of the voter turnout, it was largely peaceful. Observers were present and these were mostly churches and civil society organisations.”

In Mashonaland East, voting was conducted peacefully in Goromonzi South and Seke constituencies.

Seke constituency elections officer Mr Steward Zvavambire said by 10am, more than 1 500 people had cast their votes.

He said no incidents of violence were reported across the constituency.

“All the polling stations opened on time and voters cast their votes as from 7am. As at 10 am, about 1 790 voters had cast their ballots,” he said.

Speaking after casting his vote, ZANU PF candidate for Seke constituency Cde Shepherd Kashambe said: “We are confident of winning.”

It was similarly peaceful in Mashonaland West province in the two constituencies — Chegutu West and Zvimba East — and wards in Chinhoyi and Chegutu were voting took place.

Chegutu West constituency elections officer Mr Shadreck Chokoto said polling commenced and ended on time in all the 15 wards.

The constituency command centre had received results from 10 of the 15 wards by the time of going to print.

In Chinhoyi, where elections were held in Wards 9, 10 and 12, counting and verification was being conducted at the time of going to print, with ZEC officials confirming that the polls were peaceful.

The Sunday Mail visited some polling stations in the constituencies.

Provincial elections officer Mr Thompson Chiwereweshe confirmed that the electoral process was “almost flawless, with all the polling centres having opened and closed on time”.

Meanwhile, our Bulawayo Bureau reports that voting went on smoothly in the six constituencies that were having by-elections across the country yesterday, with officials happy with the peaceful atmosphere.

Speaking in Bulawayo at the close of polling, Mr Silaigwana commended voters for voting peacefully.

He, however, said there was a need for civic education to ensure the public understands the importance of registering to vote and exercising their constitutional right to vote.

“The polling processes for today, the 3rd of February 2024, took place in all the provinces where there were by-elections. We had six constituencies and several wards throughout the country, mainly in Bulawayo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Midlands. There has been a low turnout. Yes, by-elections by their nature attract a low turnout, but this time our assessment shows that turnout was actually lower than what we expected, but there could be several factors. We are still going to make a proper assessment,” he said.

ZEC, he added, managed to do all its groundwork to ensure the process was conducted in a proper way across the country.

“As ZEC, we did all that we were supposed to do in terms of preparations, I can confirm that all the polling stations opened at 7am. By then, there were very few people trickling in; there was a bit of an increase around 10am, mid-morning. As I have already indicated, the percentages remained low. In some of the polling stations that I visited, the turnout was between 10 and 15 percent,” he said.

“I can also confirm the other good thing about this election was that it was observed. There were observers almost in all polling stations generally. The polling agents representing their candidates for the three parties particularly in this constituency, Pelandaba-Tshabalala, were there in the polling stations. In terms of the process, they expressed satisfaction with the process.”

In Bulawayo’s Pelandaba-Tshabalala constituency, ZANU PF candidate Cde Joseph Tshuma was battling it out with CCC’s Moreblessing Tembo and Abraham Nkomo from the Democratic Opposition Party.

Speaking after casting his vote at Sizane High School, Cde Tshuma said he was confident of winning.

“I must say I was very much pleased with the process of campaigning. It was very peaceful in Pelandaba-Tshabalala constituency. We did not experience any cases of violence whatsoever,” he said.

“The outreach was great. We tried to cover all the corners, but unfortunately, today the voter turnout was a bit subdued. We can smell the victory as the ZANU PF team because we did our groundwork. We went down and spoke to the people and we gave them the reason to vote for the party. So, I do not see how anything other than that can come out.”