Several alleged electoral irregularities from the by-elections held over the weekend in Kariba and Chipinge have plundered Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) victory celebrations underlining the need for urgent electoral reforms ahead of 2023 general election.
According to CCC which recorded a clean sweep in the Ward 16 under Chipinge Rural District Council and in Kariba’s Ward 5, there were numerous episodes of vote buying by Zanu PF which was giving away cash ranging from US$5 to US$20 in exchange for votes on voting day.
It further alleges that in Chipinge some Zanu Pf “thugs” interrogated voters on who they had voted for and accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of denying incidents of intimidation without investigations.
“We re-iterate our demand for electoral reforms. The irregularities pointed to above demonstrate that the electoral playing field is not free or fair. In any election, the margin of victory is critical. The clear attempts by Zanu PF to suppress the CCC vote without any sanction from ZEC are unconstitutional. ZEC must reform and uphold its mandate to act in an independent, professional manner or be disbanded,” said CCC.
“There is need to ensure that there is a credible voters’ roll in line with regional best practice. Ghost voters must be removed. The unilateral movement of registered voters must not be allowed. We call for the public display of provisional voters’ rolls with pictures at polling stations for inspection.”
CCC retained the Kariba Ward 5 seat after its candidate Tonderai Chikwati polled 303 votes against Zanu PF’s Kudakwashe Mafusire, who garnered 175 ballots.
There are some key recommendations of observer missions from 2018 election which have not yet been implemented, likely to compromise outcome of next year’s elections if reforms are not undertaken.
“We call for fair and equal access to state media including fair and equal airplay and coverage on all state media including ZBC. We further demand an end to the onslaught against journalists and respect for free speech,” said CCC.
The ruling party has not cited any irregularities from the by-election.