THE opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says it will not be caught napping as the country heads for the 2023 polls.

And to ring-fence against possible rigging, the party is conducting a polling station mapping exercise to improve election results tabulation and transparency.

During the 2018 elections, Zimbabwe had more than 10 000 polling stations and by yesterday, CCC had mapped more than a quarter of the polling stations as it tries to avoid its 2018 election mistakes. In 2018, the party, which contested under the MDC Alliance banner did not do the mapping exercise and failed to field polling agents at some polling stations, which raised speculation of rigging.

The 2018 presidential elections were disputed.

“Polling station mapping is important for our election results statistical modelling, polling station accounting and tracking,” CCC’s election point person Ellen Shiriyedenga told source yesterday.

In Masvingo during a weekend rally, CCC leader Nelson Chamisa told party supporters that his political outfit was doing everything possible to stop rigging.

“In 2018, Mnangagwa (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) caught us napping. There is no repeat of that in 2023 because we are a bit wiser,” Chamisa said.

In countries such as Sierra Leone and Mexico, polling station mapping exercises ease logistical and operational planning. They are a prerequisite role of the electoral body.

However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has been silent about the exercise at a time when there have been accusations of obscure polling stations during election time.

Election Resource Centre programmes manager Solomon Bobosibunu said: “The mapping of polling stations allows for the efficient management of voters on election day by the electoral commission. If political parties undertake the mapping exercise, it is purely for them to know how many voters are at a particular location and it allows them to have an oversight role over how many voters are at a certain place.”

Software engineer Freeman Chari, who is leading the polling station mapping exercise said for example, Kenya had efficient tabulation of election results to the media.

“We need to know the location of all polling stations so that we can deploy citizen agents to them. These agents need to be safe and should be accounted for. They will update our systems. We can only do it if you help us. When you pass a polling station, send us the co-ordinates,” Chari tweeted.

South Africa-based electoral expert Romeo Chasara said mapping guaranteed traceability and transparency.

“It helps create data visualisation at the voting centres resulting in a better understanding of the electoral process and also provides better distribution of voting centres that take into account the geographical factor.  It assists in better facilitation of the distribution and allocation of election workers at polling centres, as well as logistics.”

Source Newsday