Fears of voter apathy in 2018 polls

HARARE - After the voter apathy which marred the recent Chiwundura by-election, analysts have said electoral reforms are the only way to increase voter interest in 2018 elections.

In the by-election, a large number of people refrained from casting ballots, with the voter turnout rate at 22 percent.

Zanu PF’s Brown Ndlovu polled 9 426 votes, while his closest rival, National Constitutional Assembly’s (NCA) Takudzwa Guzete, got 445 votes.

Brighton Mudzviti of Free Zim Congress and Webster Zulu of the Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe polled 145 and 118 votes, respectively.

The Chiwundura seat fell vacant in April this year following the death of Zanu PF MP Kizito Chivamba.

Based on the statistics, analysts told the Daily News on Sunday that without electoral reforms, voter apathy will characterise next year’s election.

“It shows that people have no appetite to continue voting without reforms and expect change. People are tired of being taken for a ride. The statistics should set the opposition parties thinking,” political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said.

“The opposition parties will not defeat Mugabe, if there are no reforms. Reforms are key in increasing voter interest in elections and ensuring free and fair elections,” added Saungweme.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network — the largest independent elections observer group — said the Chiwundura low voter turnout was worrying.

Analysts have consistently said next year’s elections would give the opposition parties a chance to finally upset President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF, as long as they were united.

However, haggling over who should lead the coalition among the opposition leaders has cast serious doubts about their ability to sway the electorate in deciding the eagerly-awaited elections.

Comments (1)

The dubious opposition parties are just participating in these elections in order to legitimise zanu pf's grip on power.The parties are as dubious as their leaders whose chances of getting votes even from their own wives are a snowball's chance in hell.Their evilish way of getting money through legitimising election fraud by zanu pf at the expense of the suffering majority is totally devoid of any element of humanity.They get into elections against zanu pf on the false pretext that they are practising their constitutional rights by running political parties which are so glaringly zanu pf projects whose main agenda is to legitimise zanu pf's fraudlent election victories.Surely they are better and human ways of getting your supper than killing one oyour own.If all political parties have been calling for electoral reforms i am sure by now the electoral playing field would have improved.

Janana wa Bikaz - 24 July 2017

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