Â A survey by The Zimbabwean on Sunday showed that the majority of the electorate is likely to go to the March election without basic knowledge and information.
It has also emerged that the situation is being exploited by Zanu (PF) members, especially in remote areas, who are going about intimidating the electorate and lying to them about the voting process.Â The Zimbabwean on Sunday recently visited areas in Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central Provinces and established that in most areas, ZEC voter educators have either not reached the electorate or passed through the area without meeting the majority of people.
We have heard about them (voter educators) but they have never been to this place, Sheila Chaza of Murehwa said. Some say they have been to nearby villages and promised to come here, but we haven’t seen them here.
Villagers in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe expressed concern. Zanu (PF) officials are taking advantage of that by going around doing their own version of voter education but which is clear cheating and fraud, Dickson Huruva, an MDC district executive member said.Â They are telling the electorate the usual fables such as that there would be cameras in the booth recording what one will be doing, who they vote for and that will be used later.
However, Zanu (PF)’s district secretary, Herbert Jinga denied this. That is not true at all. We are simply urging our supporters to prepare to go and vote in massive numbers in order to ensure our victory, he said.
This paper spoke to some voter educators based in Mutoko, who requested anonymity. Our major problem is we don’t have enough resources. For example, there is not enough transport facilities and we are having to walk very long distances, one of them said. In addition to that, we are fewer compared to the job at hand because some of our colleagues have pulled out due to the allowances.
Efforts to obtain comment from ZEC spokesman Etoile Silaigwana failed before going to press.
But the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which was recently barred by ZEC from conducting voter education, has expressed concern over the process saying it was failing to adequately reach the majority of the electorate.
Hording ahead of elections
HARARE – Families have started scrounging for basic commodities and hording them as the elections draw nearer.
Hard-pressed Zimbabweans, now approaching a decade of unrestrained recession -characterised by food shortages, breakdown in health delivery and education systems as well as lack of electricity and water – are well aware that one of the likely results from a disputed election result will be a worsening of the lack of basic commodities.
Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas are using any available cash to purchase foodstuffs such as mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar, salt, beans and rice as well as soaps, washing powder and candles. These are obtainable from the black market as the official market is totally dry.
Consumers are anxious and uncertain about tomorrow hence they are resorting to hoarding basic commodities, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said.Â The other reason behind the desperate hoarding of basic commodities is hyperinflation as consumers hope to beat what they now know to be the inevitable increase in prices.
I no longer keep any money either in the bank or at home because of inflation and the other factors, Memory Burutsa of Harare said. As soon as I get any funds, I look around for mealie meal, sugar or cooking oil.