Political Reporter- Simba Moyo

The big number of spoilt ballot papers from the Mwenezi by-election, reveals the need for voter education.

The Mwenezi by elections which were won resoundingly by ZANU PF has produced more than 600 spoilt papers, a big margin to ignore as could have guaranteed someone a parliamentary seat.

The elections came at a time there was commotion in the election management processes, with opposition political parties accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of failing to run the polls well.

The Mwenezi polls also could have come at the right time when various political parties have  hit the ground running engaging the electorate as they drum for their Xs. After everything is said and done, campaigns made, accusations tossed around, it is the element of voter education that also need attention, as shown by the number of spoilt papers.

Looking at the figures, ZANU PF got 18790 votes, NCA got 482 votes, FreeZim got 386, with 652 being spoilt ballot papers, analysts have noted that this could be a sign that there is need of voter education.

With some alleging that it could be a ploy by ZANU PF to make sure that some of the votes that could have gone into the opposition parties’ bags are rather spoilt.

A political analyst, Elder Mabhunu says the number of spoilt papers should be a cause of concern for political parties, as can be used as a rigging element by ZANU PF, where in areas they are not strongholds they can have more papers classified as spoilt, so that the votes for the opposition are reduced.

“As parties are campaigning it is important that they educate their supporters on how to vote, in order to reduce the number of spoilt papers.

“This could also be a gateway for vote rigging by ZANU PF. We have seen it before that the ruling party used to either have voters forced to be assisted in voting claiming to be unable to write. In some areas where the party had little influence, the party would rather like to have more spoilt papers, at the expense of the opposition,” he says.

Another respected political commentator, Alex Magaisa agrees, commenting on the Mwenezi by-election on twitter, he said the number of spoilt papers could even have landed someone a parliamentary seat.

“If this was proportional representation and 500 was the minimum, the spoilt votes would have a seat ahead of NCA and other,” he wrote.

Be that as the ZEC stand accused by opposition political parties for acting like an extention of the ruling party. They say the commission is made up of ZANU PF agents, among other matters, and also of note was its lack of proving voter education in time. This has also been pointed out as one of the causes for the bigger margin of spoilt papers.