Commissions Watch 6 August 2018 [ZHRC Preliminary Election Monitoring Report 23 - 31 July 2018] PARTISAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION The ZHRC before the election, carried out investigations on partisan food distribution and made recommendations to the relevant stakeholders. The same trend continued in a number of constituencies with the ZHRC receiving reports and observing partisan distribution of Presidential Input program in 9 constituencies. Some of the constituencies where ZHRC witnessed partisan distribution of food were at Munyoro business centre, Chikomba East, Ward 23 in Macheke, Murehwa South constituency, Hwedza South, Masvingo North (Zaka North West and Central, Ward 32);Matebeleland North (Tshino Ward 6, and 3) Matebeleland South (Sigola, Siphezini and Esigodini in Umzingwane Constituency), Gokwe Central Constituency, in Ndlalambi, Ward 20, where mostly rice was being distributed at ZANU PE gatherings at the exclusion of the general needy public. CAMPAIGN RALLIES AND USE OF HATE SPEECH The ZHRC attended rallies called by the different political parties across all the 10 provinces. These were generally held peacefully with a few cases of electoral malpractices. The ZHRC however, noted that in some instances, the use of hate speech and songs carrying hate messages were part and parcel of campaign rallies. As has been highlighted this affects the way that parties relate to each other and has the potential of causing violence. In some instances, the hate speech, was viewed by the ZHRC as toxic, especially to the female candidates and ZEC Chairperson. COMPLAINTS RECEIVED A total of 76 complaints were recorded by ZHRC monitors who were in the field as well as through hotlines and toll- free lines. The ZHRC received cases from individuals who complained of intimidation, threats and physical violence. Whilst every effort is being made to investigate the cases received, the ZHRC remains concerned with the sheer numbers of allegations which should not arise in a democratic and peaceful nation that Zimbabwe is. OVERVIEW OF THE ELECTION DAY The right to vote in accordance with section 67 of the Constitution is an important tenet of democracy. The ZHRC congratulates ZEC for holding the elections throughout the country and for opening up the process, in the spirit of transparency, to both local and foreign observers. The elections were held peacefully throughout the country. For the improvement of future elections, the ZHRC wishes to highlight the following shortcomings noted on election day. Some of the provinces reported cases of general disorganisation on the part of the electoral management body with some polling stations missing and voters having to be redirected. Some polling stations did not have adequate lighting especially in tents which slowed the voting process. The process was slow with some voters having to wait for up to 3hours to cast their vote. Opening, closing of polls and counting ballots was in accordance with the Electoral Act. The right to vote should be enjoyed by all Zimbabweans including special interest groups such as women, the elderly and women with babies. It was noted that this group was made to vote first which was commendable on the part of ZEC. However, the ZHRC noted that as raised in its previous monitoring reports, some of the venues were not accessible to persons with disabilities and the elderly. It was observed there were steep steps at some school voting venues. There was a visible absence of female candidates, in violation of the Zimbabwean Constitution provision on gender equality, as well as SADC Protocol on Gender providing for the 50-50 parity

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