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Low Turn Out Recorded in Zimbabwe Parly By-Elections

FILE - Zimbabwean women react as they wait to casts their votes at a polling station in Domboshava, about 45 km (28 miles) north of Harare, July 31, 2013.

Parliamentary by-elections have been conducted in 16 constituencies to fill vacant posts left by expelled Zanu PF members and recalled Movement for Democratic Change lawmakers amid nationwide reports of a low voter-turn-out.

When Studio 7 arrived at Courtney Selous Primary School in Greenadale in Harare East constituency, only six people had cast their ballots by 10am while about 61 had voted at Chemhanza in Dzivarasekwa.

Some poling officers said a considerable number of voters were turned away for failing to produce the required identification documents while others had gone to vote at the wrong polling stations as the voters’ roll is polling-station based.

One of the voters, Nancy Mawire, said that the queues were moving very fast today compared to previous elections.

But many people like Benedict Shambare of Dzivarasekwa said they saw it fit not to go and vote so that they could fend for their families as they are feeling the pinch of the current harsh economic environment in Zimbabwe.

Martin Musinami, who also lives in Dzivarasekwa, said he saw no reason to go and cast his ballot in today’s elections arguing that the outcome of the polls is pre-determined.

These sentiments were echoed by Kambuzuma resident Gibson Chiurai.

A member of the MDC-T Youth Assembly, Clifford Hlatswayo, said voters appeared to have heeded the call by his party’s president Morgan Tsvangirai to boycott the polls due to lack of key democratic reforms.

In Headlands, independent parliamentary candidate, Albert Mukaratirwa, said there were several irregularities, chief among them, voter intimidation by suspected Zanu PF members.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment from the Zanu PF candidate, Christopher Chingosho, whose mobile was not being answered.

The results of the by-elections are expected to be announced tomorrow while observers, who were monitoring the elections, said they will make their reports public in due course.

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