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Press Release of the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) Observation Mission to the Harmonised Elections in Zimbabwe

31 July 2018

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

WILD reports peaceful elections; calling for calm as we await election results announcements

The pre-election climate was peaceful despite provocative and aggressive rhetoric during the campaign period.

WILD notes the different anomalies that obstructed the polling process.

  1. Common knowledge of the early darkening of winter nights reflects a need for ZEC to have properly planned and prepared lighting that would be required in polling station tents. WILD notes how the poor lighting in the tents increased the number of assisted voters (particularly among the elderly). These cases were reported in Lobengula Hall (tent) Ward 14 and Efusini Polling Stations. In Pumula and some parts of Cowdray Park Polling Stations, voters were left with no choice but to vote using candles.
  2. ZEC gives provision for the elderly, pregnant women, women with babies and those with disabilities to skip the queue, an ethical gesture that was met with agitation and frustration by voters at Efusini Shopping Center Tent. The residents argued that the elderly should just sit down at home and not slow down the voting process- a statement that cements aggression as a ticking time bomb that may result in violence.
  3. A number of candidates dropped out of the election race a few weeks before the 30 July elections but they still appeared in the ballot paper. This confused the uninformed voter. Therefore, ZEC should take note of candidates who drop out of the election. Hefty fines should be awarded to such candidates so that they do not undermine the voter’s intelligence and deprive the voter of an opportunity to choose willing leaders.
  4. The long winding queues as a result of big turnout by citizens to vote were a reflection that ZEC had not anticipated to handle such numbers. Quite a number of potential voters were seen leaving queues out of frustration. As much as harmonized elections are cost-effective, bundling them all in one day disenfranchises citizens who have to bear the brunt of waiting for long hours to cast their votes.

Conclusion:

Despite the glitches encountered during the election day, the conduct of the public during this period is highly commendable. It is hoped that the spirit of peace will prevail throughout this transitional period.

 

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