Low Voter Turn-Out Mars Zim’s One-Sided By-Elections

By Jeffrey Moyo

 

HARARE-Low voter turn-out on Wednesday marked Zimbabwe’s parliamentary by-elections, with very few people appearing at the polling stations to cast their votes by the dawn of voting business at 7am, with most polling stations apparently disserted.

Most of these by-elections were being held in Harare and Bulawayo, which are known opposition Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai strongholds.

It would seem that the electorate heeded Tsvangirai’s call to boycott what he termed shame elections.

A survey carried out by Radio VOP around the Zimbabwean capital Harare revealed that polling officers and police manning most polling stations were just but seated idly, with very few or no voters to serve.

The low voter turn-out was also witnessed in the country’s second largest city of Bulawayo, this according to impeccable sources there.

“It’s a working day today, maybe that is why there is low voter turn-out,” a Bulawayo- based freelance journalist, told Radio VOP on condition of anonymity.

Similarly, at Greengrove Primary school in Harare East, a voter who only identified himself as Jacob said he was met with polling officers hungry to serve voters who were not in appearance there.

“Polling officers and police manning a polling station where I cast my vote at 2pm jumped from their chairs to meet me as they were eager to attend to the only voter at the polling station at that time. There was no one queuing to vote and it is very sad,” Jacob told Radio VOP.

But despite the low voter turn-out, ruling Zanu-PF parliamentary candidate for Harare East constituency, Terence Mukupe, was ecstatic after casting his vote.

“I have voted for Terence Mukupe of Zanu-PF in the Harare East House
of assembly elections,” Mukupe told journalists after casting his vote in Harare’s leafy Greendale suburb.

In Dzivarasekwa constituency, a high density suburb also in Harare, most polling stations visited by Radio VOP by mid-morning had very few voters queuing while other polling stations there were empty.

“People are not at all interested in this election because they know it means nothing to them as they keep suffering under the same government that has pushed for the parliamentary by-elections,” Trynos Murwira, a disgruntled voter in Harare’s Dzivarasekwa constituency, told Radio VOP.

The parliamentary by-elections that has been dubbed “a mini-general
election” in Zimbabwe’s political circles following the expulsion of 21 Members of Parliament belonging to the opposition  Movement for Democratic Change party led by this Southern African nation’s former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The expelled legislators had crossed the floor from the MDC-T to form their own political outfit dubbed MDC Renewal.

The opposition MDC -T has been calling on its supporters to boycott these
by-elections protesting the absence of electoral reforms, which the main opposition here said work in favour of the ruling Zanu-PF.

Meanwhile, over 100 parliamentary candidates, including those from Zanu-PF, other smaller parties and independent candidates took part in the controversial by-elections.

Results of the by-elections are expected later today, but the major
battle is in Hurungwe West constituency in Mashonaland West province,where Temba Mliswa who was expelled from Zanu- PF is locking horns with Keith Guzah of the ruling party.

Mliswa was fired from the ruling party a few months ago for reportedly backing former the country’s former Vice President
Joice Mujuru.His appeal to the Constitutional court to stop the poll was rejected on Tuesday.

Mujuru was also expelled together with16 government Ministers and several top Zanu-PF officials last year on allegations plotting to assassinate President Mugabe.One of the former VP’s top allies suspended Amos Midzi was found dead on Tuesday morning at his Marirangwe farm in an suspected suicide case.He was reportedly unhappy with the way his party had treated him.