CHIWUNDURA – Voters across Chiwundura handed a sweeping victory to Zanu PF’s Brown Ndlovu in a National Assembly by-election marred by low turnout, high number of assisted voters and accusations of electoral roll irregularities.
Ndlovu polled 9 426 votes, while his nearest rival, Takudzwa Guzete of NCA got 445 votes.
Brighton Mudzviti of Free Zim Congress and Webster Zulu of the Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe polled 145 and 118 votes respectively.
Voting finished across the constituency at 7pm on Saturday, but with a large number of people staying away from casting ballots amid reports of the use of an outdated electoral roll and logistical problems.
The Chiwundura seat fell vacant in April this year following the death of Zanu PF MP Kizito Chivamba — notorious for shooting the now late Patrick Kombayi.
The largest independent observer group Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) noted “the continued use of the two voters’ rolls namely the main polling station-based voters’ roll and a supplementary roll based on the previous ward-based voters’ rolls.”
“Zesn reiterates its calls for the commission to use one voters’ roll in future elections which will greatly enhance the transparency and integrity of the electoral process,” Zesn said in an analysis.
The leading domestic monitoring body said at all polling stations observed, “Zanu PF had party agents — as many as three in some cases – while the NCA only deployed at very few polling stations and the other two parties, Free Zimbabwe Congress and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe having no agents at the polling stations visited.”
“As of midday, at all the polling stations that Zesn observed, a few voters had been turned away for turning up at the wrong polling station.”
At all the polling stations observed, there had been some assisted voters.
The reasons included illiteracy, eyesight challenges and old age.
Voter turnout was also low, with mostly short queues observed comprising mainly the elderly population.
“The turn-out of the youths was very low. The low participation of youths in this by-election is a worrying trend that continues to be observed in the by-elections post the 2013 harmonised elections,” Zesn said.
Zec Midlands provincial elections officer Dorcas Mpofu expressed satisfaction with the entire voting process.