HARARE-- The ruling party, Zanu PF, is the most dominant political party in terms of campaigning through various means for Zimbabwe's watershed July 30 elections, according to a leading electoral support organization, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support network (ZESN).
Zanu PF has rolled out a well-oiled campaign which has seen its Presidential candidate, incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, traverse the country holding rallies while his main rival, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance, has also been on the campaign trail, albeit on a shoe-string budget as its traditional western sponsors pulled out after reportedly losing faith in the opposition party.
The ZESN, one of the biggest observers of Zimbabwe's election, said Sunday that political parties were campaigning using various means, including holding rallies, meetings, door-to-door visits, posters, distributing party regalia and sponsoring sporting or cultural events.
The most dominant party in terms of active campaigns is Zanu PF, followed by the MDC Alliance. In general, political parties are campaigning more in rural areas than urban areas, ZESN said in a pre-election report based on observations made between May 18 and July 7.
The long-term observers' reports show that the most commonly used method of campaigning is posters or banners on free cites for all political parties. Political parties have also used door-to-door campaigns more than other ways.
The ZESN is a coalition of 36 non-governmental organizations formed in 2000 to co-ordinate activities pertaining to elections. It has deployed 210 long-term observers across the country's 10 provinces and says its observers have attended 300 political rallies, met with local stakeholders ,including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), civil society organizations and politicians.
Meanwhile, the ZESN said the ZEC had prepared well for the impending election. Over the course of the reporting period observer reports have confirmed that the ZEC constituency and Ward offices had been opened; recruitment and training of polling staff had commenced; locations for final polling stations were being determined and published," it said.
Ballot papers were being printed and other essential materials to be used for polling were being procured; and Multi-Party Liaison Committees were established at provincial levels.
The ZESN said voter education campaigns, led by the ZEC, were also taking place across the country. Over the reporting period, 171 reports gave examples of voter education campaigns that they witnessed in their various constituencies, the ZESN said.
According to the reports, ZEC voter education campaigns were the most visible. Most of the reports (136) indicated that ZEC was leading in providing voter education, followed by political party candidates (76); Civil Society Organisations (37); Faith Based Organisations (22); Community Based Organisations (17); and local governments (4).
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK