August 23 poll: Feel it, it’s here

18 Aug, 2023 - 00:08 0 Views
August 23 poll: Feel it, it’s here Zanu PF First Secretary and President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, addresses party supporters at Handina Secondary School in Makoni South Constituency during the ruling party’s star rally on Wednesday. — Pictures: Tinai Nyadzayo

The ManicaPost


Samuel Kadungure and Tendai Gukutikwa

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s preparations for harmonised elections pencilled for Wednesday are on track, with the deployment of election and polling officers that will man Manicaland’s 1 623 polling stations set for Sunday.

The country will hold Presidential, Parliamentary and council elections on August 23 to select the country’s leaders for the next five years.

ZEC Manicaland Provincial Elections Officer, Mr Thompson Chiwereweshe, told The Manica Post yesterday (Thursday) that preparations for the polls were going on smoothly.

He said the required human resources were undergoing the final phase of training, while some election materials were expected to be delivered on Saturday.

Ruling Zanu PF and opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), as well as the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Democratic Union of Zimbabwe (DUZ), Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), United Zimbabwe Alliance (UDA) and independent candidates will battle it out on Wednesday.

Independent politicians are seeking to hold political office in four of the 26 constituencies.

The parties and independent candidates have been promising different policy packages to citizens to attract their crucial support.

All political parties had their campaigns running smoothly and without reports of violence.

This was buttressed yesterday by the signing of a Provincial Peace Pledge by all parties contesting in Manicaland.

The parties pledged to promote and fully comply with the provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct contained in the Fourth Schedule of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) – ensuring that all citizens’ and voters’ rights to freedom of expression, association, personal choice and secrecy of that are guaranteed.

They also pledged to refrain from inducing fear in citizens and voters through hate speech, all forms of violence, intimidation, force and undue influence, among other electoral malpractices.

Mr Chiwereweshe said ZEC has set 1 623 polling stations in Manicaland’s 26 constituencies and 260 wards.

He said 259 council elections will be conducted after Zanu PF won uncontested in one of the rural wards in Makoni South Constituency.

“We are ready to conduct the elections. We have recruited enough personnel, that is 26 election officers and 56 deputy constituency election officers, 260 ward election officers and 1 623 presiding officers. We also have a sizeable number of polling officers.

“The majority of the personnel has been trained and the last batch of the polling officers is starting training today (Thursday). We have also received all but a few items that should be delivered on Saturday.

“I do not see anything that can stop us from effectively running the elections. We are deploying the personnel on August 20. Everyone should be at their respective centre three days before the elections,” he said.

Mr Chiwereweshe said roads in areas like Bende (Nyanga), Dzika (Chipinge) and Mutseyabako (Mutare) are being attended to by the provincial logistics committee comprising of officers from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and the Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (RIDA) to ensure easy access to those areas.

“Some roads are being attended to. The fortunate thing is that the elections are being held during the dry season when there are no rains. We have also set aside efficient off-road and all-terrain vehicles for those areas that have traditionally given us problems due to their rugged and steep terrain.

“Since we are deploying our officers three days before the elections, should serious logistical challenges arise, we will have enough time to improvise,” he said.

Mr Chiwereseshe said elections monitoring bodies like the European Union (EU), Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Election Resources Centre (ERC), Heal Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Peace Project, among others, have been accredited.

He said ZEC has not received any reports of violence, adding that ordinarily such reports are handled by the police.

“We need peace and are happy that things are going on well. The process is going on well without any problems,” he said.

Zanu PF provincial chairman, Cde Tawanda Mukodza said their campaign in the province reached the crescendo on Wednesday with the star rally addressed by President Mnangagwa in Makoni South.

He said the party is now consolidating its support in villages, reminding the masses to vote for President Mnangagwa and party candidates.

Cde Mukodza said the majority of the people are rallying behind Zanu PF.

“Our machinery is well oiled and ready to romp to victory. We will win this election resoundingly. Only Zanu PF has a catalogue of credible and competent candidates who can deliver the people’s expectations,” he said.

He said the party will deploy at least three election agents per each polling station, and a roving one per each ward.

“Every polling station will be manned by a minimum of three agents, coupled with a roving one, and their deployment is not a problem.

“We are contesting to win all the 26 constituencies, it will be a clean sweep, even in urban constituencies and councils,” he said.

CCC Manicaland provincial spokesperson, Mr David Panganayi said the party is 90 percent ready for the elections, amid reports that they are struggling to get enough polling agents in rural constituencies.

“As far as preparedness is concerned, the CCC is 90 percent ready. We are tying up the loose ends so that in the next six days we are able to deploy our polling agents. Some of the challenges are logistical but l am sure we will be able to overcome them. We will deploy polling agents at all polling stations,” he said.

MDC candidate for Makoni Central, Mr David Tekeshe said their party has fielded four Parliamentary candidates in Manicaland.

He expressed optimism of retaining his Makoni Central seat.

“We are ready and personally I have prepared enough to retain Makoni Central.
I have worked hard to meet and exceed the expectations of the electorate. We are conducting door-to-door campaigns, and people are saying they will vote for us, and me in particular,” he said.

Mr Tekeshe will battle it out with Cde Shepard Nyika (Zanu PF) and Mr Patrick Sagandira (CCC).

He went on to say political parties and their candidates should take heed of President Mnangagwa’s call for violence free elections.

“President Mnangagwa’s call for a violent-free election should be embraced by everyone. We should all abhor violence and intimidation, and those who do otherwise must be arrested,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) has also urged political parties to maintain the current peaceful environment.

ZHOCD members said this during the signing of the Provincial Peace Pledge by political parties.

Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) leader, Bishop Never Muparutsa called on political parties to collectively promote peace and tolerance during and after the elections.

EU long term observer, Mrs Zanda Martinuka said they are observing the electoral process and will make a preliminary report after the elections.


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