By-elections: ZEC ballot paper distribution begins today

Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is now 100 percent ready to deliver seamless by-elections on Saturday, with the distribution of ballot papers set to start today.

ZEC has printed 230 000 ballot papers for the National Assembly elections and 144 000 for the local authorities polls. The 552 polling stations will all be ready for use on election day. Command centres have been identified and made ready.

ZEC vice chairperson Ambassador Rodney Kiwa yesterday told The Herald that the electoral body was “confidently ready” to conduct free, transparent and credible by-elections.

“Yes, we are 100 percent ready confidently for the by-elections on Saturday. Those who were successfully nominated will be on the ballot. Polling stations and command centres are also all in place. Distribution of ballot papers should start today or first thing tomorrow morning.

“The training of election personnel will be completed by Wednesday,” he said.

Ambassador Kiwa said ZEC was appealing to political parties as well as voters to remain peaceful and champion peace before, during and after the polls.

He said the negation of peace would defeat the whole purpose of holding the polls and democracy at large.

“The bottom line is that we appeal to all participating political parties, individuals and voters to remain peaceful. I think that is what is most important because we can have all the other things in place in terms of materials but if we don’t behave in a peaceful way it negates everything that we are trying to put in place and achieve.

“So that is our biggest appeal, that let’s just walk the peaceful road during this by-election,” he said

ZEC was also encouraging observers to be accredited so they can inspect the polls. “Accreditation is also going on well. In fact we encourage as many observers as possible to participate during the elections,” he said.

The by-elections were necessitated after CCC secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu recalled three legislators and 20 councillors. While they all tried to file their papers at the Nomination Court as CCC members, they were barred from contesting under the CCC ticket by the High Court, although some chose to contest as independents.

Those barred from contesting in the polls on Saturday include former deputy spokesperson, Gift Ostallos Siziba who was legislator for Pelandaba-Tshabalala, former leader of the opposition in Parliament Amos Chibaya who was Mkoba North Member of Parliament and Stephen Chagwiza who was representing Goromonzi South.

Former Harare Mayor Ian Makone, who was Councillor for Ward 18 was among the 20 councillors to be removed from the ballot papers.

The 23 had successfully filed their nomination papers last month as CCC candidates despite their recalls after they ceased to be members of the opposition party.

Mr Tshabangu then challenged their nomination at the High Court, resulting in the ruling by Justice Pisirayi Kwenda removing the 23 from the ballot papers as CCC members.

They had defiantly filed their nomination papers under the CCC which had recalled them in the first place, defying an earlier order by the High Court that prohibited recalled MPs from running for office in by-elections under the opposition party’s banner.

Meanwhile, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba yesterday notified of vacancies among CCC party-list members of Senate and National Assembly following their recall in November last year.

Those recalled for Senate were Webster Maondera (Harare), Jameson Timba (Harare), Editor Matamisa (Mashonaland West), Vongai Tome (Harare) and Ralph Magunje (Mashonaland West).

Recalled members for the National Assembly were Mucharairwa Mugidho (Masvingo), Emma Muzondiwa (Midlands), Constance Chihota (Mashonaland East), Monica Mukwada (Manicaland), Sekai Mungani (Midlands), Linnet Mazingaidzo (Harare) and Dephine Gutsa (Mashonaland East).

The CCC will be able to nominate replacements for these recalled legislators.

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