Ellah Mukwati Herald Correspondent—
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has invited election observers to accredit for the Marondera, Mbire and Epworth by-elections to be held on Saturday next week. The invitation was made by Zec’s chief elections officer, Mrs Constance Chigwamba, in a statement yesterday. “The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission hereby invites applications for accreditation from the following persons and organisations wishing to observe all electoral processes related to Epworth, Marondera Central and Mbire constituency by–elections on September 19,” she said. Mrs Chigwamba said locally registered organisations should direct their applications to respective provincial elections offices where the by-election falls, while international observers should send theirs to Zec’s headquarters.
She said all applications must be received at Zec headquarters no later than the fourth day before the day of polling. The Epworth seat fell vacant after the death of Cde Amos Midzi in June in a suspected case of suicide. The Marondera Central and Mbire seats fell vacant following the recall of Messrs Ray Kaukonde and David Butau from Parliament after they were expelled from Zanu-PF for being part of the Joice Mujuru-led cabal accused of plotting to unconstitutionally remove President Mugabe.
The Epworth seat will be contested for by four candidates namely Cde Zalerah Hazvineyi Makari of Zanu-PF, Mr Tsikirai Muchena from Transform Zimbabwe, Genacious Muzambi from Zapu and independent Daniel Foya. The four names have since been gazetted by Zec following the recent sitting of the nomination court at the Harare Magistrates’ Court. There are also four candidates aspiring for the Marondera Central seat — Cde Lawrence Katsiru of Zanu-PF, Mr Solomon Makaza of Transform Zimbabwe, Kingdom Nyika of the Freedom Front and Wadzanai Mabika of NCA.
There are three candidates contesting the Mbire seat and representing Zanu-PF is Cde Douglas Karoro, while Transform Zimbabwe is represented by Mr Kudzanai Gondo and Njabulo Sibanda is representing NCA. The MDC-T and other parties which split from it have boycotted the by-elections after it became clear that they were headed for a heavy defeat at the hands of Zanu-PF.
The ruling party has already won 20 seats in by-elections that have been held since the July 31,2013 harmonised general elections. The by-elections were held due to deaths of some legislators and expulsions by both Zanu-PF and MDC-T.