“By-election Victories A Sign Of What’s To Come In 2023” – CCC

The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has said victories in the weekend council by-elections were a shadow of what would transpire in the 2023 elections.

The party which is led by Nelson Chamisa, a former ICT Minister during the Government of National Unity (GNU) won Chipinge Ward 16 (Manicaland) and Kariba Ward 5 (Mashonaland West). Fadzayi Mahere, the party’s spokesperson tweeted following the victory:

We won both by-elections emphatically. Thank you polling agents for defending the vote.

The Citizens’ by-election victories are a sign of what’s to come in 2023. We are sharpening our tools to ensure we win all of Zimbabwe for change. Our Mugwazo campaign is bearing fruit in rural areas, where we are winning despite attempts to rig! We are going to win BIG in 2023!

The opposition party, however, raised concerns about electoral fraud, intimidation and vote buying. Mahere said in a statement:

We note with concern numerous electoral irregularities that were reported by our polling agents who ably manned all voting stations. In Kariba, there were numerous episodes of vote buying by Zanu PF which was giving away cash ranging from US$5 to US$20 in exchange for votes on voting day. Our intelligence team identified homes where money was being disbursed to persons who were said to have voted for Zanu PF. Our polling agents promptly reported these incidents resulting in the bases being dismantled. In the lead-up to voting day, voters were given hampers, sweets, new curriculum school textbooks and other trinkets in exchange for votes.

However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chief Elections Officer, Utoile Silaigwana, dismissed the rigging claims. He said in a statement:

ZEC would like to inform the public that allegations of voters being forced to take pictures of their marked ballots at polling stations in ward 16 of Chipinge rural district council are false.

The presiding officers are aware of provisions of the law in that regard. Section 57 of the Electoral Act (c)(ii) clearly states that the ballot must be marked secretly, while section 4(d) of the Fourth Schedule states that it is prohibited to reveal the identity of the candidate voted for.

He added that Section 25 of the electoral regulations of 2005 further states that no person shall, within the polling station, take any photographs while polling is in progress except with the permission of the constituency elections officer or take any photo of any person within a polling booth.

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