The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has expressed concern over the manner in which the 26 March by-elections were conducted.
In its report titled “Ecumenical Election Observation Preliminary Findings on the 26 March 2022 By-elections”, ZCC noted that some opposition parties were barred from holding campaign rallies, while ZEC failed to handle the voters’ roll properly. Read the report:
The Church noted that the political playing field remained unequal for political parties. Frequent suppression of some opposition parties was observed during the pre-election period.
The Church is concerned about this selective application of the law as it undermines confidence in Law Enforcement Institutions.
Some opposition political parties faced challenges in holding their campaign rallies across the country, as the police would either deny their applications or accept them with stiff restrictions or conditions, which would not apply to other political parties.
ZEC’s handling of the voter’s roll raised a lot of concerns before and during the elections.
ZCC also noted that in Kwekwe, Mbizo Constituency, Ward 1 Mbizo Youth Centre Polling Station, a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party agent was assaulted by an unidentified man.
There were also cases of assisted voters in all wards, notably, the 21 youths who were assisted voters at Ward 4 Matione Primary School in Chipinge.
ZCC said there was an increase in the number of returned voters due to a lack of identity documents (IDs), missing names and misspelt names on the voters’ roll.
Despite acknowledging positive strides made by ZEC in areas such as voter registration and gender sensitivity, ZCC said there is still room for improvement in the areas of voters’ roll management, polling station accessibility by PWDs and elderly voters.