Zimbabweans go to the polls on Saturday to elect 28 legislators and 105 councillors to fill posts left vacant due to recalls and deaths of representatives since 2020.
The parliamentary poll is being conducted in 8 out of the country’s 10 provinces. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says all logistical arrangements are in place and it has set up 1 317 polling stations for the parliamentary election across the eight provinces.
However, the main opposition political party, the triple C has described the electoral field as uneven after it failed to campaign in some areas due to police bans of their rallies.
Campaigning wrapped up in Zimbabwe ahead of Saturday’s poll with the opposition coalition for change finally holding its rally in Epworth which had previously been banned by the police.
The youthful leader decried the unevenness of the playing field and blamed the Zimbabwe electoral Commission for not being fair and neutral.
“We have seen what ZEC is doing. ZEC had proved that they are not ready to run a general election. Why do we see that they have not availed the voters roll that they are supposed to avail? We see that they have not passed the critical test that they are supposed to pass.
“The integrity test, the professionalism test, the accountability test the constitutionality test but more importantly they have to pass this test of being non-partisan. ZEC must not be an extension of ZANU-PF because ZANU-PF is just a political party,” laments the president of Citizens Coalition for Change Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa blamed the electoral body for failing to provide a level playing field for all players and demanded it’s disbanding.
“We have a right as citizens to demand that ZEC must be disbanded. Players have a right to say this referee is not fair and can’t referee us,” Chamisa explains.
The electoral body dismissed Chamisa’s threats and maintained they are ready to conduct a credible election over the weekend
“We have our people on the ground. Today all our polling stations have provided a facility to go and inspect their names at different polling stations. We have trained everyone, all the logistics required including the ballot paper are there. We gave all the contesting candidates and political parties voter’s rolls after sitting of the nomination court in January and we are happy with the progress as a commission,” says Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Spokesperson Jasper Mangwana.
Zimbabwe’s parliament has 210 elected seats and the current poll constitutes about 13% of the seats.
What remains to be seen now is whether the huge human and financial resources invested by the two main contenders in this by-election, ZANU-PF and Citizens Coalition for Change will in the end translate into votes for the two parties.