A LOCAL election watchdog has called for peace among political parties and the electorate during today’s Nkulumane by-election.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Zanu PF’s Killian Sibanda, Ngwalo Nyathi and Sibusisiwe Mpofu of the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe respectively are vying for the vacant Nkulumane seat.
The seat became vacant following the death of MDC-T’s Thamsanqa Mahlangu.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said it had been accredited to monitor the by-election, but was quick to call for peace to prevail.
“Zesn calls upon the electorate and political parties in the constituency to ensure that peace prevails during the by-election.
“As part of its mandate to gather and disseminate credible electoral information, Zesn will be releasing regular information updates throughout the entire polling process and a preliminary statement will be released after the by-election,” Zesn said in statement.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has set up 30 polling stations, while the constituency command and collation centre will be situated at Nkulumane Housing offices.
“Zesn is deploying 14 observers comprising static [polling station-based], constituency and mobile observers. The observation methodology seeks to measure compliance with the Constitution and electoral laws as well as to identify gaps in the electoral practice to enable informed advocacy interventions for electoral reforms by the Network,” Zesn added.
A victory in Nkulumane would effectively put Zanu PF on an equal footing with the MDC-T, whose Bulawayo National Assembly seats would be whittled down to six.
The MDCs and Zapu are boycotting the Nkulumane by-election citing lack of electoral reforms to guarantee free and fair voting.
The boycott strategy allowed Zanu PF to grab five seats in Bulawayo during the June 10 by-elections, which were triggered by the firing of 16 MDC-T legislators who had defected to form another political outfit.
Zanu PF had struggled to make inroads in Bulawayo, which had been dominated by the MDC-T since its formation in 1999.