Crisis condemns politics of violence and vengeance

HARARE - Serious electoral irregularities in rural district council elections held last week bore clear testimony that the Zimbabwe government is not serious about conforming to the SADC protocol on free and fair elections, a coalition of civic groups said this week.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

noted in an election synopsis that the rural elections saw the recurrence of the politics of violence and vengeance targeted at opposition candidates. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which is responsible for administering elections, remained conspicuously silent and there has been no investigation into allegations of electoral malpractice, including political violence, to date.
“The just ended elections depict a flawed electoral system run through de facto institutions being headed by ex-army officials and divorced from the SADC elections framework,” Crisis Coalition said.
According to ZEC, Zanu (PF) garnered 765 wards, while the Tsvangirai led MDC polled 54 and the Mutambara-led faction won 42.
Crisis Coalition said opposition supporters faced a wave of politically-motivated violence and discrimination.
“In areas such as Buhera, Mutoko, Mudzi and Gokwe, MDC supporters had their homes reduced to ashes by Zanu (PF) youth militia.”
In Chitungwiza, a magistrate barred the MDC candidates from campaigning and addressing their constituencies on the grounds that they had failed to pay certain electoral fees, which the court could not substantiate.
Crisis said the elections were characterized by poor voter education processes resulting in more than 1000 people being turned away from the polls for failing to comply with the voting requisites such as proper identification details.
Opposition parties were denied the right to converge in constituencies they were campaigning in before registering with the ZRP for clearance. The report states that the MDC was refused permission to hold rallies in Gokwe, Mudzi among other areas before the elections
According to a report by the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network, thousands of prospective voters were turned away for various reasons.
“Disturbing figures were noted in Mashonaland Central. For instance, at Rusununguko Primary School in Chaminuka District, Shamva, by 1000hrs on the voting day at least 120 voters had cast their vote and 81 had been turned away. In Manicaland, at Govingo Business Centre, by 1445hrs, 344 voters had voted and 92 had been turned away. In addition, in Mashonaland West, at Sanyati Welfare Centre polling station, ZESN observed that by midday, 124 voters had cast their votes whilst 61 were turned away. At Msitha polling station in Matebeleland South, by close of poll, 507 voters had cast their votes whilst 100 were turned away.”

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