High number of assisted, turned away voters

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BY BLESSED MHLANGA

INDEPENDENT elections observers has raised concerns over the high number of voters who were turned away or redirected during the by elections held yesterday in Glen View South and Mangwe National Assembly, and Masvingo Urban Ward 1.

In a mid-day statement Zimbabwe Elections Support Network, (Zesn) said voters were either turned away or redirected to other polling stations over one problem or another on the voters roll.

“Despite the posting of the voters’ roll outside polling stations in Glenview South Constituency, some high numbers of redirected voters have been recorded. For instance, the numbers were at 29, 27, and 20 at Glen View 3 AC, Glen View 3 BA, and Chemhanza Stadium B tent polling stations in Glenview South.  Some polling stations have also recorded high numbers of turned away voters. Glenview 9B Primary polling station had notably recorded a high number of 33 turned away voters by midday,” reads the statement.

The MDC in a letter of complaint to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) accused the electoral body of fiddling with the voters roll resulting in the deregistration of voters or their transfer from one polling station to another without the voters being informed.

Zec said it was well within its mandate to make the adjustments as they moved to clean and update the voters roll.

Zesn said some of those turned away were voters from Glen Norah Constituency who had turned up for their neighbours election.

“Many of these people were however from Glen Norah Constituency, which boarders with Glen View South.  During the 2018 harmonized election the same polling station (whose unique ID 6301HRE2807 B) was used for the Glen Norah Constituency and this may have attributed to the confusion resulting in persons from Glen Norah showing up to vote,” Zesn said.

In Mangwe and Glenview South constituencies, Zesn said despite a low voter turnout, there was a relatively high number of assisted voters as the election proceed past mid-day.

“As of midday, the number of assisted voters was generally low except at Glenview 6 Primary A polling station where 83 voters had been assisted to vote. A high number of 42 assisted voters was also recorded at St Francis Secondary School polling station, in Mangwe Constituency,” reads the statement.

In the three elections Zanu PF and MDC are the only political parties which managed to field election agents at all polling stations while the MDC-T is reported to have placed agents at selected polling stations.

“ZANU-PF and the MDC Alliance have deployed election party agents comprehensively in Glen View South Constituency while other parties deployed to selected polling stations. For Mangwe, ZANU-PF and MDC Alliance have deployed party agents at all polling stations where ZESN has observers while the MDC-T has deployed to some of the polling stations,” reads the statement.

ZESN observed that as at midday, there was low voter turnout in Mangwe Constituency, saying maybe voters stayed indoors owing to the cold, windy and drizzling weather experienced in the region on polling day.