2023 ELECTIONS: Voting delayed as ballot paper crisis grips Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe general elections commenced on a negative note after most polling stations across the country failed to start voting processes at 7 am with election officials saying they had not yet received ballot papers and ink.

Reports from NewZimbabwe journalists on the ground indicated that most polling stations did not receive local authority and National Assembly ballot papers.

The environment has generally been peaceful so far despite some constituencies going beyond 12 noon without a single vote cast because of the ballot papers debacle.

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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in a statement, has however blamed numerous court processes for the delay in printing and distributing ballot papers.

“Delays in the opening have largely been caused by delays in printing of the ballot paper arising from numerous Court challenges. This has been the case with Harare and Bulawayo provinces.

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“The public is advised that all polling stations that opened late for reasons beyond the control of the presiding officer will remain open to cater for the period of the delay, keeping in mind that the polling station must remain open for a continuous period of at least 12 hours on polling day,” said ZEC.

Former Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said judging from the reports of voter suppression, ZEC was failing to monitor the elections.

“There are worrying reports this morning suggesting voter suppression in urban areas which

ZEC needs to attend to in visible ways; both on the ground in the affected urban areas, and by giving continuous and accurate public information, which is woefully lacking,” Moyo said on X, formerly Twitter.

“ZEC should not only act and act swiftly but it should be seen to be acting in terms of its constitutional obligations under section 239(a) of the Constitution which requires it “to prepare for, conduct, and supervise elections to the Office of President and to Parliament and elections to provincial and metropolitan councils and the governing bodies of local authorities.

“And to ensure that those elections…are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law.

“It’s a long day ahead but so far ZEC is failing the test, judging by voter suppression reports in urban areas. It’s in ZEC ‘s own interest to up its game to allay growing fears that it is up to no good,” he added.

Of the cases noted by this publication in Harare, Glen View, Westgate, Cold Comfort, Budiriro, Mt Pleasant, St Mary’s, Zengeza West Warren Park, Marlborough, Dzivarasekwa and Hatfield had not started voting by 9am.

The same cases were recorded in Bulawayo and Manicaland.

However in some areas like Mabvuku voting started on time.

— NewZimbabwe


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