ZEC sets strict rules for election day activities

ZEC chief elections officer Army Major (Rtd) Utloile Silaigwana

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday released a list of activities that are not permitted within a 300-metre radius of a polling station on election day next Wednesday.

Posting on its official Twitter page, ZEC said wearing party regalia, sloganeering, using political or candidate-branded vehicles and distributing leaflets or pamphlets on behalf of a candidate or political party are prohibited.

Some of the activities which are prohibited include public singing, dancing and the use of bands, music, or loudspeakers as well as the use of cameras or phones.

The country goes to the polls on Wednesday next week to elect a President, Members of Parliament and councillors.

According to ZEC, there are 6 623 511 registered voters in Zimbabwe with Bulawayo having 287 720 voters while Matabeleland North has 371 587.

Matabeleland South has 300 763 registered voters while the Midlands has 840 961 people who are eligible to vote.

A total of 12 374 polling stations have been established.

Speaking during a media briefing in Harare on Wednesday, ZEC chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, said as at August 14, a total of 3 572 local observers, 136 foreign observers, 376 local journalists and 15 foreign journalists had been accredited.

Meanwhile, ZEC has dismissed as unfounded, allegations that the voters’ roll recently given to Presidential and National Assembly constituency candidates cannot be searched and analysed.

ZEC chief elections officer, Mr Utloile Silaigwana, said the voters’ roll is searchable and analysable as per provisions of Section 21(7)(1) of the Electoral Act[Chapter 2:13].

The section states that where a voters roll is provided in electronic form in terms of subsection (3), (4) or (6), its format shall be such as allows its contents to be searched and analysed, provided that — (i) the roll may be formatted so as to prevent it being altered or otherwise tampered with.

“It is for this reason that ZEC has issued out the voters’ roll in its current format. There is nowhere in the Act where it is stated that the roll should be in excel or printable formats known to have compromised security features,” said Mr Silaigwana.

“The voters’ roll issued out to candidates has columns for the voter’s surname, forename, ID number, gender, date of birth, voter’s address, polling station, ward, local authority, constituency, district and province as prescribed in Section 20(2) of the Electoral Act.”

Mr Silaigwana said the polling station codes have not been included on the voters’ roll because they are an administrative tool used by the Commission to map out polling stations during delimitation hence they are not part of the voters’ roll as alleged.

He said the electorate and other stakeholders should expect to see real names of polling stations and not codes on the voters’ roll.

“Ordinary voters without access to the electronic voters’ roll are encouraged to dial the USSD Code *265# on their mobile phones to ascertain their registration status and respective polling stations. The Commission would like to urge all stakeholders with queries on the voters’ roll or any other electoral issue to approach the Commission for clarification,” said Mr Silaigwana.

He said people should desist from casting aspersions on the voters’ roll and other electoral processes as this may affect voter turnout and discredit the polls.

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