AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - Voting extended in several polling stations

Thursday, 24 August 2023 elections   bishops  

Harare (Agenzia Fides) - Zimbabweans are called to vote today, August 24, in 40 polling stations due to delays in the presidential and administrative elections held yesterday, August 23 (see Fides, 17/8/2023). The vote is monitored by several election observers, 1,500 of whom are deployed by the Zimbabwe Bishops' Conference Justice and Peace Commission. In a press release, the Commission highlights some positive notes about the development of the elections, including the high turnout of voters, the peaceful voting climate and the willingness of the Electoral Commission (ZEC) to listen and cooperate with all the parties involved in the electoral process. However, Justice and Peace lists a series of deficiencies and irregularities such as delays in the opening of various polling stations, the lack of electoral material (voting cards, pencils, stamps), attempts to intimidate voters by people wearing T-shirts with party logos in some polling stations or the fact that there were voters who cannot vote because their name was not on the electoral register.
"Justice and Peace" invites everyone to peacefully wait for the ZEC to resolve the logistical problems encountered at the polling stations and wishes the Electoral Commission to provide lighting to polling stations that close late to allow voters to vote at night as well. On the eve of the vote, the bishops hoped for a peaceful election. "As a Church, we believe that peaceful and nonviolent elections are the only legitimate way to seek support for public office," they say in their August 22 message. "Voting is everyone's duty to contribute to the common good of our beloved nation," they say. There are seven million voters called to the polls to elect the president among the 11 candidates selected by the electoral commission, as well as deputies and local councillors. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 24/8/2023)