Analysts challenge ZESN’s allegations on by-elections

Staff Reporter

Political analysts have critiqued assertions made by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) regarding reported incidents of voter harassment and intimidation in the aftermath of the recently concluded by-elections.

In an interview with this publication, yesterday, political commentator Paul Makumbe, applauded the political maturity shown by Zimbabweans during the by-elections and said that ZESN’s assertions of voter intimidation lacked evidence.

"ZESN's allegations lack substantiated evidence. If there were indeed cases of voter harassment and intimidation, they should have been promptly reported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) or other relevant electoral oversight bodies. As far as we can observe, the recently concluded by-elections demonstrate that Zimbabweans have reached a level of political maturity, exhibiting commendable political tolerance,” Makumbe said.

Furthermore, Makumbe underscored ZESN’s historical alignment with the opposition, particularly the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), and its reliance on Western funding, questioning the organisation’s impartiality.

“For starters, ZESN is a Western-funded civil society organisation known for its historical alignment with the opposition. This raises concerns regarding the neutrality and credibility of their claims,” Makumbe emphasised.

Another analyst, Gibson Nyikadzino, echoed Makumbe's sentiments, emphasising the lack of objectivity exhibited by local CSOs, like ZESN, which he believes undermines the democratic efforts of the Second Republic.

“ZESN's lack of impartiality and dissemination of unfounded allegations constitute a direct assault on the integrity of our country's democratic process. It is imperative that ZESN uphold objectivity and refrain from spreading misinformation merely to appease their handlers,” Nyikadzino remarked.

Nyikadzino further criticised the opposition’s failure to mount a robust campaign leading up to the by-elections, attributing it to internal conflicts.

“The opposition’s failure to conduct a robust campaign has left a void, exploited by CSOs like ZESN to discredit the integrity of the elections,” noted Nyikadzino.

Moreover, it’s pertinent to recall ZESN’s previous antagonism towards the Government, particularly its controversial actions during the August 2023 harmonised elections. Operating a parallel voter tabulation centre at a local hotel, ZESN’s attempts to undermine the electoral process have raised suspicions about that organisation’s motives.