Election watchdog, Zimbabwe Election Support Network has raised concern over electoral violations that occurred during the 22 October 2022 by-election held in Matebeleland South ward elections over the weekend.
The malpractices were observed in Matobo ward 2 where ZanuPF regalia and banners were displayed close to the polling station.
According to the code of conduct parties and candidates are prohibited from convening or hold a public gathering of any kind and campaigning.
Furthermore, parties and candidates are prohibited from displaying campaign material within 300 metres of a polling station or counting centre;
In an interim situational statement issued by ZESN during the course of polling day a few malpractices were reported.
“At 0800hrs, at Sikhamaswe polling station in Matobo Ward 2, ZANU-PF members allegedly mounted a desk with ZANU-PF regalia and banners on exhibition less than 300 metres away from the polling station.
“A few youths were reportedly manning the desk and after voting some people were allegedly passing through the desk.
“After one hour, ZEC mobile supervisor officials and officers of the ZRP intervened and dismissed the grouping outside the polling station area and also removed a ZANU-PF poster which was within the polling station area,” read the statement.
At another polling station in Matobo, ZESN reported pre-election violence incidents which have been attributed to be among the cause of voter apathy among youth and women.
“At Tudi Primary School, Matobo, the situation was reportedly tense as people were slowly gathering in groups away from the polling station after voting. However, as at midday, there was no incident of violence or rowdy behaviour reported.
“ZESN observed more ZRP details or officers to maintain law and order because of rife tensions at Sinkamaswe and Tudi Primary School in Matobo as well as at Gambiza Primary School in Takawira Ward 6 following clashes between ZANU-PF and CCC party supporters yesterday and today,” ZESN said.
A week before elections, Citizen Coalition For Change (CCC) members campaigning in Matobo and Insiza were violently attacked.
The occurrence attracted condemnation from civil society organisations.
Perpetrators of violence during elections are in most cases never apprehended. A situation that has given rise to intimation and violence attacks.