A report by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said Zimbabweans do not vote along political party lines and their preferred candidates do not reflect their aspirations.

This comes after Zimbabwe held by-elections on February 3 this year to fill vacant positions in the National Assembly and local authorities following a vote of no confidence by the Citizens Provisional Alliance for Change. (CCC) Secretary-General Singizo Chabangu.

By-elections were held in Zvimba East, Goromonzi South, Chigoto West, Seki, Pelandaba-Tshabalala and Mkoba North, where ZANU-PF begged all six constituencies and eventually secured a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.

In his report on the by-elections, Zissen said the elections revealed Zimbabweans’ preference for individualistic politics.

The report stated, “The by-elections that just ended revealed the embodiment of loyalty to individuals by voters.”

“Voters in most of the six (6) constituencies revealed that people do not cast their votes along political party lines per se, nor do their preferences reflect the quality of the competing candidate.”

Main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa stepped down as CCC leader last month ahead of by-elections, arguing that Zanu NP had infiltrated the party after Chabangu purged several CCC lawmakers from parliament.

Chamisa has already begun mobilizing for a new political movement.

“This explains why former CPC-Tshabangu candidates lost seats they once won in the coordinated elections in August, when they chose to contest as independents.

“In the August 2023 harmonized elections, the Chegutu West CCC candidate received 13,942 votes, but when he decided to run as an independent, he received 2,626 votes. The winner of the Seki constituency in August, Willard Madzimbamoto, received 13,277 votes, but as an independent he received 2,401 votes.

“A similar trend occurred for the independent candidate in the Zvimba East by-election on 3 February who received 1,993 votes, well below the August victory mark of 15,435 votes.”

Meanwhile, Zissen appealed to Parliament to amend the no-confidence clause in the constitution.

“Zissen reiterates his call for Parliament to develop legislation, especially to amend Article 129 (k) of the Constitution, to prevent the arbitrary implementation of recalls. Recalls place a burden on the national budget and reduce the value of the vote.

The election watchdog said there is a need for safety and security of observers when carrying out their duties to ensure they do so without fear of reprisal to instil public confidence in the electoral process and its credibility.

“It is essential to put in place clear mechanisms to protect observers, including legal frameworks that explicitly prohibit any form of harassment or retaliation against them.

“Political parties must promote a culture of non-violence and tolerance in order to ensure that citizens participate freely in electoral processes.” Newsday

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