THE Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) has poked holes on the management of Monday’s elections although the electoral watchdog noted that the political environment was largely calm and peaceful.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Zesn chairperson Andrew Makoni yesterday said their preliminary report was based on a statistical sample of 750 polling stations they visited.
“Zesn found that the political environment was largely calm and peaceful. The ruling and opposition political parties were able to campaign freely across the country with the MDC Alliance and Zanu PF holding the majority of rallies during the campaign period,” the report read.
However, the electoral watchdog said although the environment was largely peaceful, there was a bombing incident in Bulawayo that affected the atmosphere while intimidation tactics during the voter registration period were noted as some political activists demanded voter registration slips.
Zesn noted that some candidates breached provisions of the law by campaigning during the cooling off period.
The electoral watchdog said 100% of the polling stations had all essential polling material such as ballot boxes, voting booths, ballot papers and others while Zanu PF had 100% agents and MDC Alliance had 95%. Other parties had less.
At least 98% of polling stations were set up in a manner that allowed voters to mark their ballot papers in secret.
The report also noted that there was a high number of assisted voters.
It further noted that at 3% of polling stations, there was campaigning nearby and unauthorised persons were present in the polling stations while 2% of polling stations recorded incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence of which 50% targeted women.
The report noted that at most polling stations, the presidential results were posted immediately after counting was finished, but less frequently in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces.
Most importantly, the preliminary report said an average of 70% turnout was recorded for the election.
The report highlighted that women’s participation was low, the media environment was not friendly and that Zanu PF officials were using State resources for campaigning and government officials speaking at campaign events.
Traditional leaders also came under scrutiny for allegedly supporting Zanu PF.
Zesn said it trained and deployed over 6 500 observers to every ward, constituency, district and province of the country. The electoral watchdog said it would release its final report after the announcement of all results.