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Low by-elections turnout



PARLIAMENTARY by-elections in Mount Pleasant and Harare East constituencies in the capital at the weekend were characterised by dramatically low voter turnout averaging 13.4%.


This is 55.5% below last year’s general elections national average of 68.9%

A Zimbabwe Election Support Network preliminary report on the by-elections won by Zanu PF candidates George Mashavave (pictured) and Kevin Mutimbanyoka said: “The voter turnout in both by-elections was very low. Harare East constituency recorded a turnout of 15.2%, and Mount Pleasant constituency recorded an 11.6% turnout.”

Meanwhile an electoral democracy  watchdog, the Election Resource Centre (ERC), had predicted a low turnout of voters in the upcoming by-elections in Mt Pleasant after former legislator Fadzayi Mahere resigned.

By-elections will be held in the constituency and in Harare East after Mahere and Rusty Markham abandoned their seats, citing the infiltration of the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) by Zanu PF proxies.

There was a series of recalls of CCC legislators by self-imposed secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.

“Survey findings reveal that while awareness of the by-election remains moderately high, the trend of low voter turnout will continue, with at least 48% of respondents already indicating that they were not going to vote and/or were not interested in voting in the upcoming by-election,” reads the report.

Traditionally, people do not come out in large numbers to vote in by-elections, but the implosion of the CCC and the resignation of Nelson Chamisa as president could evoke apathy among voters.

“Reasons cited for not going to vote or a lack of interest in voting in the 27 April by-election varied among respondents.

However, the most common reasons cited for not participating included a lack of interest in electoral processes (24.2%) and continued support for the resigned member of Parliament, Fadzayi Mahere (21.2%), resulting in disengagement by the supporters.

Other reasons cited include not interested in elections/elections do not work, lack of documentation, ID or passport, other commitments,” reads the report.
The report also shows that there is a significant lack of trust in service delivery from local authority representatives.

“A majority of voters (53.3%) say that ordinary citizens cannot do much to influence service delivery in Mount Pleasant and people must help themselves. (A total of) 30.3% believe there is not much one can do to influence service delivery and people must help themselves, while 23% believe there is absolutely nothing that citizens can do regarding service delivery, accepting what is ongoing. Citizens still believe in community mobilisation as 28.9% believe attending community meetings and reaching consensus among members is essential to influencing service delivery outside of elections,” reads the report. 

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