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ZESN calls on ZEC to announce list of polling stations ahead of the elections

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A statement just in from ZESN:

HARARE, 25 July 2013 – With a few days left to the Harmonised Elections, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) is appealing to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to publish the final list of polling stations ahead of the polls to enable party agents and observer groups to deploy. ZESN urges ZEC to release the final list in advance in case there are additional polling stations or any changes to the initial polling station list. This would ensure there is sufficient time for the deployment of party agents and observers to the new polling stations.

At a briefing for international, regional and local observers on Wednesday, 24 July, ZEC announced that the final list of polling stations would be published on the actual polling day. While ZESN commends ZEC for being aware of the concerns raised after the March, 16 Referendum on the inadequacy of polling stations in highly populated areas, ZESN is concerned that the initial list published did not address some of the problems noted during the referendum. For example, Epworth, Ward 7 according to the 2012 Census has a population of 39,031 people. ZESN estimates there are 22,638 eligible voters in the ward. However, for the 2013 Constitutional Referendum there was only one polling station in Epworth Ward 7.

ZESN therefore appeals to ZEC to release the list of polling stations in advance as part of international good practice and, in order to enhance transparency and accountability of the whole electoral process.  ZESN is concerned that the last minute publishing of polling stations provides limited time for interventions on the adequacy and accessibility of polling stations. We note that the final list will be published in the print media. However, ZESN is concerned that there is no guarantee every voter will have access to the newspapers to access the final list of the polling stations.

“We urge ZEC to release the final list in advance in the spirit of promoting transparency, credibility and the smooth running of the elections as this is also in line with good international practices”, said ZESN Chairperson, Dr Solomon Zwana.

The Network encourages ZEC to ensure that polling stations are adequate to avoid long queues that may discourage potential voters from voting. ZEC should distribute the polling stations based on demand and the potential number of voters in each ward.

ZESN calls upon ZEC to seriously take all concerns raised to ensure the credibility of the impending harmonised election and to ensure that every voter has adequate information about where to cast their vote in good time. ZESN urges ZEC to ensure that there are adequate polling stations to ensure that all eligible are processed timeously. ZESN remains committed to promoting a free and fair election in Zimbabwe.//Ends

For more information please contact the ZESN Chairperson REV Dr Solomon Zwana on +263 773 434 169 or the ZESN Director Mrs Rindai Chipfunde Vava on +263 771 692 039

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