Educate citizens on importance of municipality by-elections: Zesn

The by-elections were held on March 9 in Harare ward 36 and Chinhoyi ward 4.

ELECTION watchdog Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has urged political parties to educate the electorate on the importance of local authority by-elections following low voter turnout in the recently held polls.

The by-elections were held on March 9 in Harare ward 36 and Chinhoyi ward 4.

In Harare, the polls were triggered by Citizens Coalition for Change self-imposed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu who recalled Lovejoy Chitengu while in Chinhoyi they were undertaken after the High Court found independent candidate Archibald Muzanenhamo guilty of vote buying in last year’s general elections.

In a statement on the by-elections, Zesn said municipality by-elections were pivotal because they directly impacted citizens’ everyday lives.

“According to the 2023 delimitation report, Harare Municipality ward 36 has a voter population of 15 139. In Harare ward 36, 2 636 persons turned up to vote translating to 17,8% voter turnout,” Zesn said.

“At around 42,3% in Chinhoyi Municipality ward 4, voter turnout was significantly higher, after 1 431 people turned up to vote. According to the 2023 delimitation report, Chinhoyi Municipality ward 4, has a voter population of 2 661. 

“More needs to be done by political parties to engage the electorate to ensure improved voter turnout in local authority by-elections and the enjoyment of political and electoral rights afforded them by Section 67 of the Constitution.

Zanu-PF candidates, Ignatius Zvigadze and Hilda Ruzani, were declared victors in Chinhoyi Municipality ward 4 and Harare Municipality ward 36, respectively.

Zesn also said there was need for greater political literacy among party supporters on the legal provisions contained in the Electoral Act on regulations on tearing and defacing campaign posters of other political parties and candidates.

“Zesn volunteers reported the tearing and defacing of posters of independent candidates in Harare ward 36 in defiance of Section 152 of the Electoral Act which states that; ‘from the date on which an election is called until its result is declared, no person shall deface or remove any billboard, placard or poster published, posted or displayed by a political party or candidate contesting the election’,” the report read.

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