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By-elections hit by low voter turnout

Voter apathy has once again reared its ugly head in by-elections held on Saturday with few people casting their ballots in an election won by Zanu PF candidates.

In Mt Pleasant, Zanu PF candidate George Mashavave defeated Independent candidates Naison Mamutse and Brian Ticky.

Mashavave polled 3 205 votes with Mamuse and Ticky garnering 945 and 220 votes, respectively.

The poll percentage for Mount Pleasant was 11,6%, with 206 rejected ballots.

In Harare East, Kiven Mutimbanyoka defeated Independent candidate Ropafadzo Cynthia Cheza after securing 3 533 votes to 1 974 votes for the latter.

Harare East had 51 rejected ballot papers with a percentage poll of 15,2%.

During the August 2023 harmonised elections, a total of 24 482 people cast their votes in Harare East while 26 160 participated in the election in Mount Pleasant.

Election Resource Centre (ERC) legal and advocacy officer Takunda Tsunga said while the post-election report was not yet out, preliminary findings indicated that the by-elections were characterised by an extremely low voter turnout.

During the August 2023 harmonised elections, a total of 24 482 people cast their votes in Harare East while 26 160 participated in the election in Mount Pleasant.

Election Resource Centre (ERC) legal and advocacy officer Takunda Tsunga said while the post-election report was not yet out, preliminary findings indicated that the by-elections were characterised by an extremely low voter turnout.

“While by-elections generally have lower voter turnout rates, the levels are now concerning and are testament to the insufficient voter education being undertaken ahead of the by-elections.

“A pre-election survey carried out by ERC indicated that 22,8% were not aware of the by-elections,” he said.

The two seats fell vacant after former Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs Fadzayi Mahere and Allan Markham tendered their resignation letters immediately after their leader Nelson Chamisa dumped the opposition party.

Chamisa stepped down from the CCC in January, arguing that Zanu PF had infiltrated the party after self-imposed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu purged several CCC legislators from Parliament, triggering by-elections.

Zanu PF director of Information Farai Marapira said the victory in the just ended by-elections was a reflection of the confidence Zimbabweans have in the ruling party.

“We are thrilled to announce yet another resounding victory for Zanu PF in the recent by-elections.

“This triumph reaffirms the unwavering trust and confidence the people of Zimbabwe place in our party and its leadership. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who voted for progress, stability and prosperity.

“Together, we will continue to champion the aspirations of our nation and forge ahead towards a brighter future for all Zimbabweans under the leadership of President [Emmerson] Mnangagwa.”

Source | NewsDay

https://www.newsday.co.zw/local-news/article/200026262/by-elections-hit-by-low-voter-turnout

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