‘Bikita West poll unfair’ – DailyNews Live

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\n HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF won the Bikita West by-election by directing voters to give their ballot-paper serial numbers to their headmen who had marshalled them to polling stations and made them queue in a predetermined order, observers claimed.

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\n Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) — the largest independent observer group in the country — confirmed the electoral mischief.

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\n “In the run up to the by-election, Zesn observers reported that there were plans to intimidate voters by recording serial numbers of voting slips and requesting voters to report to their village heads and party structures after casting their votes,” the leading domestic monitoring body’s chairperson Henry Masaya said.

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\n Zesn said these developments “are clearly in violation of Section 133B(c)(1) of the Electoral Act which outlaws any attempts to compel voters to vote for a particular candidate or party.”

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\n Villagers who spoke to the Daily News after attending pre-poll village meetings with their kraal heads, also said the local Zanu PF leadership had been directed “from above” to ensure that traditional leaders had a chat with their subjects before casting their votes, blatantly violating the sanctity of the vote.

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\n Zanu PF candidate Beauty Chabaya won the by-election by 13 156 votes, beating her closest rival Kudakwashe Gopo of ZPF, who polled 2 453 votes.

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\n Independent candidate innocent Muzvimbiri garnered 725 votes, followed by Madock Chivasa (NCA) with 343 votes, Terrence Tanyaradzwa Makomborero (PDZ) with 132 votes while former MDC legislator Heya Shoko polled 76 votes.

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\n There were 247 spoiled ballots.

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\n Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said events that obtained during the Bikita West by-election revealed that Zimbabwe could be headed for yet another sham poll in 2018 if measures are not taken to level the political playing ground.

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\n “Senior army personnel as well as Zanu PF officials openly threatened to unleash violence in the event that Zanu PF loses the by-election and this would justify any contestation of the outcome of the Bikita West by-election,” the report said.

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\n “Zanu PF’s resolve to win the Bikita West by-election at all costs — including violence and intimidation — culminated in the attack of …Chivasa and his campaign manager by known Zanu PF sympathisers.

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\n “Zanu PF also went on a vote-buying spree and this included manipulating hungry teachers who were directed to campaign for the ruling party.

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\n “Partisan distribution of food aid and farming inputs was also part of the vote-buying spree by Zanu PF and the Bikita West by-election was fraught with a lot of electoral irregularities and should thus be dismissed given the fact that conditions that prevailed before, during and after the election were far from meeting the standards of free and fair polls.

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\n “It is quite evident that Zanu PF has an overbearing influence on the operations of Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) and thus maintains an unfair advantage during elections and this is likely to continue into 2018.”

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