The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) has issued a preliminary statement on the Zaka East National Assembly and Insiza RDC Ward 15 local authority by-elections.
The Zaka East National Assembly seat was won by a ZANU PF candidate, who received 7 119 votes while an Independent candidate won the Insiza RDC Ward 15 by-election with 287 votes. Below is part of the ZESN preliminary statement:
Analysis of by-election results
ZANU-PF retained the Zaka East National Assembly having garnered 7119 votes. In the by-election, the party got 1736 fewer votes than it got during the 2018 harmonised elections in the same Constituency.
The MDC Alliance garnered 2286 fewer votes than it had in the National Assembly election in the 2018 harmonised elections. In 2018, the MDC Alliance lost to ZANU-PF by a margin of 5051 votes and in the by-election, the margin widened by 550 more votes.
The valid votes cast decreased by a significant 4398 between the harmonised elections and the Zaka East Constituency by-election. For the Insiza RDC Ward 15 by-election, Independent candidate, Juta Shepard won with
The number of valid votes cast indicates that turnout was very low. While in 2018 a total of 2264 valid votes were cast, only 639 valid votes were cast in the by-election – a difference of 1625 votes. Juta beat the second leading candidate by 124 votes in the byelection.
ZANU-PF’s votes in the Ward decreased by 1135 between the harmonised and the by-election while the MDC Alliance’s votes decreased by 584.
ZESN is concerned with the conduct of traditional leaders who openly supported ZANU-PF, mobilising voters to support the party and even acting as party agents. The network is also worried about the low voter turnout observed in by-elections, particularly for local authorities.
ZESN makes the following recommendations:
1. Political parties should shun all forms of intimidation and allow people to freely associate and assemble;
2. Traditional leaders should desist from engaging in partisan politics in violation of the Constitutional provisions for the non-partisanship of the institution of traditional leadership;
3. Political parties should not compel support by politicising, withholding or threatening to withhold, government aid;
4. CSOs should embark on civic and voter education that emphasises the importance of, and encourage the electorate to participate in, by-elections;
5. There are a need for political parties to deliberately emphasise the importance of, and mobilise their supporters to participate in, National Assembly and Local Authority byelections.
6. ZEC’s number of days for VE needs to be increased and VE should be continuous
7. Political parties should desist from any form of violence or violent actions. In cases where disputes arise amongst political party supporters, ZESN encourages the use of available election dispute resolution mechanisms such as Multi-Party Liaison Committees and the Electoral Court.