On 11 March 2019, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducted a local authority by-election for Mutasa Rural District Council (RDC) to fill a vacancy that had arisen following the arrest of Frank Chitembwe on charges of public violence. Mutasa RDC Ward 10 is in Manicaland Province and is one of the 12 Wards that make up Mutasa Central Constituency. The Ward has a voting population of 2004. ZEC established six polling stations for the by-election.
The Nomination Court for aspiring candidates sat on Tuesday 2 April, 2019 in keeping with Section 125(4)(b) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] . Feedback from the ZESN observers who closely tracked the Court proceedings indicated that due processes were adhered to in the processing of the submissions by aspiring candidates. Three candidates representing ZANU-PF, MDC Alliance, and the NCA contested in the election.
Observer reports indicated that the campaigns did not record incidents of violence. However, disturbing reports of intimidation, vote buying, and defacing and tearing of campaign posters were reported by ZESN observers. Political parties used rallies, roadshows, door to door visits, posters, and fliers to campaign. ZANU-PF and the MDC Alliance conducted the most visible political campaigns including rallies while the NCA’s campaigns were mostly in the form of posters.
“Election Day political environment was generally calm and peaceful, albeit with some cases of intimidation and reports of voters who were told to feign illiteracy so that they would be assisted to vote. ZESN observers reported that all polling stations in the by-election were set up in accordance with laid down procedures and opened on time, with all essential election material being present.
“The MDC Alliance candidate, Tanyaradzwa Rose Mukodza was duly elected as the Councillor of Ward 10 of Mutasa RDC having garnered 801 votes. The MDC Alliance retained the seat that it won during the 2018 harmonised elections,” ZESN said in a statement.