The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) says all is set for Saturday’s parliamentary by-elections in Epworth, Mbire and Marondera Central constituencies that will be contested by Zanu PF and a few small opposition parties.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party is boycotting the polls, like it has done in other recent by-elections, demanding electoral and democratic reforms.
“We are ready now for the by-elections, we shall be deploying poling officers to their respective polling stations, and they will be carrying with them the relevant voting materials,” ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau told Studio 7.
She added that the electoral body was using the by-elections as a yardstick to gauge its preparedness for general elections coming up in 2018.
“We’ve been using by-elections as training ground in increasing on our efficiency… we have piloted a polling station specific voter registration exercise in Marondera Central. We’ll want to see how this goes,” Makarau added.
Previous general elections, including the 2013 polls, have been blighted by violence and allegations of electoral fraud that have led the opposition MDC-T to launch a push for reforms before any future balloting.
But the climate in Saturday’s by-elections has remained largely peaceful, according to Ellen Dingani of the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, an independent body that will be monitoring the elections.
Still, one candidate Solomon Makaza of Transform Zimbabwe complained that Zanu PF elements were intimidating voters in his Marondera Central constituency.