The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said voting delays and other glitches encountered in Harare and Bulawayo for some local council polls yesterday were largely due to legal challenges political parties lodged in the courts in the run-up to the vote.
Voting delays were experienced in some constituencies in Harare and the second city, Bulawayo mainly due to unavailability of ballot papers for the local government segment of the vote.
These were yet to be delivered to polling stations in some of the areas because they were printed late as a result of the court battles that preceded Wednesday’s vote.
But ZEC said voters in the affected areas will not be prejudiced, and voting will be extended to make up for the time lost.
The Electoral Act makes it clear that if a polling station opens late for any poll then it must still stay open for 12 hours.
“This (delay in voting) has been the case with Harare and Bulawayo provinces. 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,” it said in a statement.
“We urge all voters at polling stations where delays are being experienced to remain patient as we work tirelessly to ensure delivery of the required material so that they exercise their right to vote. ZEC implores all citizens of all political persuasions to continue to exercise tolerance and respect for each other so that we can collectively deliver a free, fair and credible election,” it added.
The one-day vote opened at 7am, and was due to close at 7pm. Over six million voters registered to take part in the election in which the electorate is choosing a president, and parliamentary and local government representatives.
— New Ziana