BY STAFF REPORTER
THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to avoid setting up polling stations at private properties to ensure the credibility of the poll outcome.
The independent election watchdog made the recommendation yesterday after Zec announced that it will no longer use a polling station situated at a Zanu PF torture base in Mbizo constituency, Kwekwe, Midlands.
The polling station had been in existence since 2008 when the country witnessed one of the most violent elections after the late President Robert Mugabe lost the first round of balloting to the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Zec should avoid setting up polling stations in privately owned properties or near controversial spaces, for instance near political party billboards or offices,” ZESN said in its latest report on the March 26 by-elections.
“Zec should ensure that the voters’ rolls displayed outside polling stations are easy to read by enlarging the font used and perhaps adding photographs to the same to allow for easier verification of the persons on such rolls.
“Zec should ensure that indelible ink of the appropriate standard was procured and ensure that members of the public are made aware whenever different colours of indelible ink are used.”
Zesn expressed concern over the low voter turnout in the by-elections calling on Zec, polling parties and other stakeholders to increase voter education awareness campaigns.
“Overall, turnout was very low in the by-elections,” Zesn said.
“In view of the observations made, there is a need for robust civic and voter education interventions encouraging voters to vote in elections; peace building initiatives targeting political parties and local communities and their leadership to reduce incidences of violence and intimidation…”
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) launched by Nelson Chamisa in January won 19 of 28 contested parliamentary seats while Zanu Pf took the remainder.