via Only minor problems in Marondera, ZEC – New Zimbabwe 20/09/2015
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says its pilot polling station-based voting system carried out in Marondera Central on Saturday went well with minor challenges experienced despite fears the system would expose voters to intimidation and violence.
ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau who on Saturday toured some polling stations in Marondera, said she was happy with the new system.
She said only a few voters who were not aware of the pilot project were redirected to their respective polling stations.
However, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) said the situation in Marondera Central showed that ZEC was not prepared for the by-election.
“The compilation of the voter’s roll was a challenge. ZEC did not have adequate time and resources and hence two voters’ rolls for the constituency have been produced,” said the ERC.
The Marondera Central by-election was part of three elections that were held on Saturday to replace three Zanu PF MPs, Ray Kaukonde, David Butau of Mbire and Amos Midzi of Epworth.
Kaukonde and Butau were dismissed from Zanu PF after being implicated in plot led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru while Midzi is suspected to have committed suicide.
The polling station-based voters’ roll was held on a pilot basis in a bid to realign wholesome electoral laws to the country’s Constitution before putting the system to full use in the 2018 elections.
However, the system has been condemned by human rights organisations who feel that it is open to abuse as it exposes voters to attack in volatile areas.
Human rights groups and other political parties say the polling station-based voting system, especially in volatile areas, makes it easy for rogue political opponents to target voters as they are able to identify who has voted for which political party or candidate.
However, ZEC says the system is easy to manage and people will only be allowed to vote at one place and helps close chances of multiple voting.
Under the new system, a voter is allowed to vote at only one polling station where the voter’s only appears.
Zimbabwe has been using ward based a voters’ roll where voters were allowed to vote in more than five polling stations within that ward.
As expected, Zanu PF candidates won the low-key elections, which were characterised by a low turn-out as major opposition parties boycotted the polls citing no election reforms and irregularities.
Meanwhile, candidates from Zanu PF who won the polls are; Lawrence Katsiru for Marondera Central who received 10 009 votes, Douglas Karoro, Mbire with 11 635 votes and Valerio Makari, Epworth with 8 978 votes.