The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s preliminary results show the ruling party Zanu PF is holding on to its rural strongholds while the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is winning the urban vote amid suppression and intimidation.
Rural voting stations opened almost on time with adequate voting material for all three elections, but metropolitan polling stations, particularly in Bulawayo and Harare, opened late.
Voting did not begin until after midday in some polling stations in Bulawayo and Harare, while other stations opened after 6 pm, and some voters who had flocked to the polling places ended up leaving without voting after waiting for hours.
ZEC claimed there were no court challenges in rural areas arising from disputes over the outcome of the sitting of the Nomination Court on 21 June 2023, which delayed the printing of ballot papers for urban wards and constituency candidates.
However, the majority of the court cases challenging the outcome of the Nomination Court were filed in Bulawayo and Harare, according to ZEC, which is why the two metropolitan provinces have been the most affected by the delay in ballot printing and hampered the opening of polling stations there.
Analysts have dismissed these ZEC claims, claiming that a “compelling” explanation for the delay in the opening of polling stations in urban areas is that ZEC was, in fact, implementing an unfortunate and primitive voter suppression strategy that violated the voters’ right to vote in the affected polling stations in urban areas.
“The fact that ZEC knew well in advance that a very high number of polling stations in Bulawayo and Harare, and some other urban areas, will not open on time or that some will not have the local authority ballot paper but kept quiet about it; creates a real impression that ZEC is lying about the real cause for the delay in the opening of polling stations in urban areas,” said Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Although polling stations in rural areas opened almost on schedule, voters were subjected to Zanu PF Exit Poll Survey desks placed outside polling stations, where those manning the desks noted their names and ID numbers.
These anomalies have been recognised and criticised by observer missions such as SADC, the African Union, and the European Union Election Observation Mission, who cited a number of abnormalities regarding the Election Day and electoral processes that have enraged Zanu PF and the government.
The involvement of the Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ) linked to Zanu PF in the poll process, delays in the distribution of the voters; roll, and failure to provide ballot papers on time in many polling locations were noted by SADC as some of the irregularities that marred the August 23 poll.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF has won most parliamentary seats in Midlands, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, and all in Mashonaland Central.
In Mashonaland West, Zanu PF claimed victory in all Hurungwe constituencies.
CCC made significant gains in Matabeleland North, winning elections in Lupane East, Lupane West, Nkayi South and retained its seats in Hwange and Binga.
In Bulawayo, the opposition CCC won all the contested seats in Bulawayo while in Harare, the opposition was victorious in 23 of the 26 constituencies, while five are yet to be declared.
In Chiredzi North, Zanu PF’s candidate Roy Bhila retained the seat with 18 696 votes, surpassing CCC candidate Fungai Chamisa, who polled 2 584.
Similarly, in Chiredzi South, Joel Sithole of Zanu PF won with 11 552 votes, defeating CCC’s Douglas Gumbo with 7 528 votes.
In Chiredzi East, Siyaki Mundungehama of Zanu PF secured victory with 14 265 votes while Godfrey Maluleke of CCC received 3 922 votes.
Chiredzi Central witnessed a reversal of fortunes, with Francis Moyo of Zanu PF receiving 7 832 votes, while Ropafadzo Makumire of CCC secured 12 342 votes.
The CCC secured victories in Chinhoyi, Norton, Zvimba and Magunje.
CCC’s Leslie Mhangwa also secured victory in the Chinhoyi seat. CCC candidate Maxwell Mavhunga won the Chitungwiza South seat after polling 10 145 votes.
In the Gwanda-Tshitaudze constituency, Zanu PF’s Fisani Moyo emerged victorious with 8 671 votes, defeating CCC’s Jastone Mazhale, who received 5 889 votes.