Zimbabwe Electoral Commission still hesitating to accredit citizen observers
Two weeks to go before the polls but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not yet accredited organisations seeking to raise awareness on the significance of electoral processes among Zimbabwean voters and increase their participation in elections through voter education.
Secrets Known has learned that leading citizen observer consortium, Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) was asked to provide additional proof of registration documents. In the meantime, the Commission (ZEC) is actively on the ground conducting voter education.
ZANU PF gets more Unopposed seats
ZANU-PF has two unopposed parliamentary seats in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park Constituency and Bulawayo Central. According to the third pre-election report released by ZESN, citizens coalition for change (CCC) was also going to miss out on Provincial Council Seats which are awarded on the strength of parliamentary votes.
Citizen observers and electors in Zimbabwe have concerns over government’s awarding of Judges housing loans amounting to US $400,000 each when it is the same judges that are expected to preside over the Nomination Court and possible presidential election petition post 23 August 2023, Election Day. The timing of the loans remains the subject of public discussions.
The judges who smiled all the way to the banks in June 2023, are being accused of political posturing, pork-barreling, unprofessional conduct and putting themselves in a situation that brings into question the independent standing of the judiciary.
The Zimbabwe electorate is accusing the regime for the disqualification of presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere and banning of 12 parliamentary candidates of CCC party from contesting in the elections. However, incumbent President Emerson Mnangagwa has dismissed the allegations.
In the third edition of the pre-election report, Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network – the leading citizen observer group revealed that the month-on-month inflation and annual inflation continues tumbling following policy measures put in place by the Government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to stabilize the economy. The inflation, which peaked at 74.5 percent in June 2023, fell to minus 15.3 percent a month later, in July 2023.
Consequently, the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages have declined by an average 30 percent this following the firming of the Zimbabwe dollar. Retailers reduced prices of most basic goods by up to a third, meaning that food and non-alcoholic beverages are now much cheaper than they were in June.
Contrastingly, the prices of basic goods, commodities, services and health delivery rose sharply beyond the reach of many when the Zimbabwe dollar suffered heavy losses against the US dollar. Initially, retailers did not respond to the firming dollar, maintaining high prices for most products, but the past few weeks have seen them reduce some of the prices.
The Campaign Process
ZESN reports that campaigns for the ruling ZANU-PF party are progressing in several areas without hiccups from the law enforcement agency. On the other hand, over seven rallies for the opposition CCC party in Gokwe South, Chivi, Zaka, Mazowe Central, Chikombedzi, Bindura, Chiredzi Central were banned for various reasons, chief among them failure to meet MOPA regulations and lack of security personnel by the ZRP.