By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (ZEC) has spent an excess of US$11 million on by-elections necessitated by the recall of opposition legislators and councillors by self-proclaimed secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu.
The first round of by-elections held on December 7 cost ZEC US$5 million with US$6 million being set aside for the upcoming February 3 elections.
By-elections came before the August general elections ballot papers had been discarded.
The costs cover voter education and the deployment of officers to various voting wards and constituencies.
In an interview with the State media, ZEC Chief Elections Officer, Utoile Silaigwana confirmed that ZEC has set aside millions for the by-elections.
“The estimated budget for the by-elections is US$6 million, or the equivalent in the local currency. Preparations for the conduct of the February 3, 2024, by-elections are well on course.
“As you may be aware, there are six National Assembly seats and 28 local authority wards to be filled on February 3, 2024.
“Initially, there were 31 local authority vacancies, out of which three were dropped after the sponsoring party reversed two recalls and lost a court challenge in the other. Nomination courts for the by-elections sat on December 18, 2023,” said Silaigwana.
The costs come as the government is battling to tame the downward trend of the economy which is characterised by high inflation.
The election expenditure will likely balloon as Tshabangu has indicated that he will recall more legislators and councillors.
The European Union, a major funder of the elections withdrew its support following the August polls which were described as flawed and falling short of regional and international standards by several election observer mission.