By Peace Mlilo
The Citizens in Action Southern Africa (Ciasa) has blamed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for poor voter education and poor voter turnout in the March 26 by-elections.
This comes after a voter turnout of 35% was recorded and reports are that most people did not vote because they felt like their participation did not make a difference due to ZEC’s ‘bias’.
In its latest report titled Understanding Voter Apathy in Zimbabwe, Ciasa said trust in Zec is at an all-time low (42%) as of the last Afrobarometer of 2021. This is down from an all-time high of 48%.
“It is clear that Zimbabweans have little trust in the election management body, and this in turn influences their decision to go and vote. Without trust in the election authorities, voting feels like a waste.
“The country has been experiencing episodes of voter apathy, with 31,7% voters recorded in 1996, 47% in 2005, and 42,7% voter turnout in 2008,” the Ciasa report read.
“Huge turnouts characterised the campaign rallies of both the CCC [Citizens Coalition for Change] and Zanu PF parties. However, this did not culminate in equal voter turnout. Political parties tended to hold star rallies as opposed to localised campaigns. This meant that the big numbers at the different venues did not mean the people were from that constituency. Furthermore, rallies are attended by all sorts of people, including unregistered voters, below 18 and non-members of the political organisation.”
On young voters, Ciasa said most were registered after the cut-off date.