Zec not fit to run elections: CCDZ

July 22, 2013 at 10:16 am Leave a comment


HARARE – The Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) visited a
selection of polling stations in Banket, Chegutu, Chinhoyi, Karoi, Marondera
and Magunje to observe the special voting process on July 14 and 15.

The visits aimed at assessing the state of preparedness of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (Zec) and the capacity, effectiveness and efficiency of
the electoral management body as well as the conduciveness of the political
environment for free and fair elections.

Phillip Pasirayi, CCDZ director said the findings of this observation are
aimed at informing the State authorities and subsidiary duty bearers and
other stakeholders on the country’s readiness for credible elections.

Pasirayi said despite high voter turnout in all observed centres, the
special voting process which was meant to begin on July 14 country wide
failed to begin at most designated polling stations due to various reasons
which include but are not limited to logistical challenges such as shortage
of ballot boxes, shortage of stationery and Zec’s failure to timeously
deliver the Special Voting Certificates required for the voting process.

“Day two of the Special Voting process was similarly characterised by chaos,
disorder and confusion which surrounded the whole voting process.  While in
some areas, some voters voted; in other areas such as Chinhoyi and
Marondera, most uniformed forces and civil servants failed to vote because
of they were either turned away because their names or voting certificates
were not located or that they were simply fed up because of the long queues
and slow pace at which they were being served,” he said.

In Banket and Chinhoyi a number of police officers and civil servants were
observed loitering outside the Cooksey Hall polling station as late as 16:00

CCDZ interviews revealed that only 192 officers cast their vote on day one
of the Special Vote at Cooksey Hall polling station in Chinhoyi. On Day two
voting at the Cooksey Hall in Chinhoyi voting began as late as 8:15pm and
continued late into the night and early hours of morning instead of the
stipulated starting time of 7:00am and ending time of 7:00pm.

CCDZ was informed that only 74 officers managed to vote on day two; and that
although voting continued late into the night many people failed to vote
because their envelopes had not arrived at the polling station.

The challenges faced by Zec officials included the shortage of sensitive
voting materials such as indelible ink, Zec stamps, approved voters’ lists,
ballot papers and ballot boxes.

By 4:49pm at Dudley School in Norton, only 31 of the 271 voters present had
been served.

The situation was even worse at Suri Suri Base in Chegutu where the polling
agents were observed sleeping because there was no activity at all.

The Presiding Officer explained that the soldiers had come in their numbers
but unfortunately Zec did not supply the material in order for the voting
process to take place.

At Hartley 1 Primary School polling station in Chegutu, CCDZ was informed
that this polling station had received 225 ballot papers only at the time of
the observation; and it was unclear whether additional ballot papers would
be availed on time.

There were chaotic scenes at the Farmers Market in Marondera and due to
frustration most police and prison officers on the queue were seen pushing
and shoving.

Senior police officers tried in vain to stop the rowdy officers.

“The chaos that prevailed during the special voting process serves as a
telling and worrying indicator that could repeat itself on July 31. These
observations cast serious doubt on Zec’s capacity and preparedness to
deliver a credible harmonised election targeting three million plus voters
over a single day, given Zec’s failure to ensure that 90 000 voters cast
their votes during a two day voting period,” said Pasirayi.

He added: “We reiterate our calls that Zec is not prepared for the
elections. We implore Cabinet to convene an urgent meeting and try to find
common ground to salvage what is left of the 2013 harmonised elections.
There is urgent need for government to avail funds to Zec and strengthen the
electoral management body and build technical capacity of this institution
to preserve the country’s democratic processes.”


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