ALL is set for today’s local authorities and National Assembly by-elections being contested by at least 16 parties to fill the 28 parliamentary seats and 122 wards.
The seats fell vacant mainly due to power struggles within MDC and thus occur in opposition strongholds, while a few came up due to deaths and resignations.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) spokesperson Mr Jasper Mangwana yesterday said all was in place ahead of the polls.
“Everything has gone on well, all the materials have been delivered to the polling stations. We urge people to come out and vote, but we also urge them to observe social distancing because we are still in Covid-19 times,” he said.
Our news crew toured polling stations in Kuwadzana, Glen Norah, Chitungwiza and Tafara where they observed that all was set for voting starting at 7am today.
Ballot boxes were distributed at the polling stations that were manned by police officers while political agents from different parties contesting the polls were also present.
Voters’ rolls were displayed at the polling stations with voters being afforded a chance to verify their names.
In line with Covid-19 protocols, sanitisation booths were in place at the polling stations. In the capital, there are 12 parliamentary seats up for grabs.
Zanu PF national spokesperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa said everything was in place for the by-elections in terms of logistics and security arrangements.
He urged Zimbabweans to remain united as a nation on polling day and after the results were announced and deplored elements that were bent of fomenting violence and disunity.
“Today (yesterday) was a campaign-free day when Zimbabweans were reflecting on the long and arduous journey they have travelled in the run-up to the by-elections.
“President Mnangagwa has worked very hard to support the ruling Zanu PF party candidates and he wishes them well in the polls.
“May the best candidates win and on the morrow of the polls, we will be congratulating the winners regardless of political affiliation.
“We have a country to build and one destiny to pursue which is prosperity for the benefit of future generations. All the candidates who will win should join efforts to develop the country,” said Cde Mutsvangwa last night in a statement.
In Mashonaland East Province, there are three vacant seats for National Assembly and 10 for local authorities dotted across the province. All the candidates were confident of winning.
When The Herald visited polling stations in Marondera, ZEC officials were already hard at work.
At wards 1, 2, and 11 (Marondera) polling stations all political party polling agencies said the turnover of people who checked their names on the voters’ roll was relatively low.
In Masvingo it was all systems go for the by-elections yesterday with all the 178 polling stations for today’s voting ready for the exercise.
Nine wards across Masvingo and two House of Assembly seats are up for grabs in today’’s voting which was characterised by peace with no reported cases of violence in the run-up to the polls.
The two parliamentary seats that will be contested in Masvingo province are Chivi South and Mwenezi East.
Nine wards are also vacant.
All eyes will be in Ward 4 where the opposition CCC fielded two candidates Mrs Thokozile Muchuchuti and Mr Alec Tabe who will square up with Mr Charles Ziki standing on an MDC Alliance ticket. Cde Richard Mudyavanhu will represent Zanu PF in ward election.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Masvingo provincial officer Mr Zex Pudurai said everything was in place for the elections.
“All the voting materials and the requisite manpower is now in place and we are good to go. We are just waiting for the kick-off of voting tomorrow(today) morning,” he said.
Representatives of various political parties partaking in the election expressed confidence that their candidates will carry the day.
In Mashonaland West voting is expected to flow smoothly in all the 17 wards to be contested for in Mashonaland West province with ZEC having met all the logistics by yesterday night.
Deployment of ballot material, presiding and polling officers, security and agents had also been concluded.
A visit by The Herald at the Chinhoyi Municipality’s Cooksey Hall where some of Ward 10 voters will be casting their votes showed that all systems were in place yesterday.
Meanwhile, Mr Mangwana warned political parties and their agents to respect the Code of Conduct as set out in the law following an incident at Mhizha Primary School in Highfield East constituency where a ZEC electoral official was harassed by MDC Alliance agents.
The video is circulating on social media misleading the electorate that the electoral officer was contravening the law.
The official was, however, checking received material to ascertain that all was in order before the elections.
Mr Mangwana warned political parties and their agents that such behaviour would be dealt with in terms of the law.