Rights group chides Zec over polling station toilets

Source: Rights group chides Zec over polling station toilets – The Southern Eye

THE Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has revealed that there was a massive shortage of mobile toilets during the December 2023 by-elections which, according to a survey, negatively affected women.

This was despite the fact that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) had a large stock of idle mobile toilets at its offices.


MIHR co-ordinator Khumbulani Maphosa said they concentrated on the water and sanitation situation due to information that was gathered during last year’s harmonised elections.

“MIHR by-election observer mission was keenly interested in observing the water and sanitation situation in tent polling stations because of their unique position and vulnerability to water and sanitation needs. The keen interest was also due to the observations of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission 2023 harmonised elections,” read a the report.

“Report observations were that though mobile toilets were provided in some instances about 30 officials were sharing a single mobile toilet and there were no gender-specific mobile toilets. MIHR, therefore, observed 39 polling stations that were using mobile toilets. These constituted 32,5% of the total observed polling stations.”


According to the report, of the 39 polling stations which used mobile toilets, all of them had one mobile toilet.

“The single mobile toilet was to be used by an average of 13–18 polling officials, though the officials were indicating that it is also open to be used by the members of the public,” the report read.

“Eleven of the polling stations using mobile toilets (28% of them) had two polling tents sharing one toilet and this was equating to about 26–36 polling officials (and members of the public) using a single mobile toilet.”

He said they noted that despite the inadequate supply of mobile toilets, many of them were just left unutilised at the office.

“MIHR observed that while the polling stations had inadequacy of mobile toilets, there were many mobile toilets at the Zec offices which could have been added to the single ones delivered to the tent polling stations considering that it was a by-election and few tent polling stations had the need for mobile toilets compared to during the general elections,” read the report.

MIHR noted that some of the female officials revealed that it was inappropriate for them to share toilets with their male counterparts.

“Some female polling station officials were raising concerns about sharing toilets with their male counterparts raising issues of hygiene and congestion.”