NewsZimElections2023

By-elections marred by low turnout

The by-elections have so far witnessed a low turnout with most polling stations in Bulawayo recording few numbers by midday on Saturday.

The rains that fell in the city in the morning also deterred some voters from thronging the polling stations to cast their votes.

The country is holding mini polls to fill 28 National Assembly and 117 local government seats.

CITE new crews visited various polling stations in the city and spoke to some polling officers who confirmed that there was a low voter turnout.

The presiding officer at Mahlabezulu primary school in ward 21, Busisiwe Fuyane said the rains affected as people could not read the signs directing them to the polling station.

The polling station was deserted with only the polling officers and agents manning the station.

In Ward 20, Nkulumane terminus polling station where there is both a by-election for National Assembly and council, the presiding officer Dingane Dube said they delayed to open due to the rains.

“We slightly delayed to open because our tent was letting in water, so we had to work on clearing the water first,” said Dube.

Some of the candidates who spoke to this publication at different polling stations also bemoaned the low turnout.

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) aspiring candidate for Nkulumane constituency, Kucaca Phulu said they hope that people will come out to vote as the sky was a bit clearing.

“The build up to the voting has been slow and I am sure this is due to the rains that God blessed us with this morning but we are not complaining about it, as you can see the sun is bright and shiny, I am sure people will come and vote,” said Phulu.

“People also understand that we have enough polling stations, there isn’t too much pressure, it’s easy to go and vote, I am just hoping and praying that people remember to come out and vote because voting is critical.”

CCC Ward council candidate Edwin Ndlovu said the low turnout could also be attributed to a lack of interest in the by-elections for some voters.

“I am confident of winning although there is voter apathy maybe it’s because by-elections by their nature, people do not come out in numbers. People prefer general elections where there are possible changes at the top,” said Ndlovu.

MDC Alliance aspiring candidate for Pumula Constituency, Albert Mhlanga, said most people in his constituency were moved from their previous voting stations.

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