Tomorrow has been been formally declared a public holiday to enable the electorate to vote without hassles from work-related commitments, as laid down in the Electoral Act.
In an interview, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe confirmed that tomorrow will be a public holiday to implement the requirements of the Electoral Act.
The spirit behind declaring elections day a public holiday is to enable the people to prepare for polling while others might also need to travel to their polling stations. It is also a way of encouraging all the people to cast their votes and if some of the people are committed to other things such as work they may fail to participate in this important exercise.
This also comes after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it is ready to deliver free and credible elections tomorrow with most of the logistical arrangements now in place, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba told a recent briefing for observers and media.
Former Mozambican President Mr Joachim Chissano and the head of the Sadc Observer Mission and former Zambian vice president Dr Nevers Mumba attended the briefing.
In her presentation, Justice Chigumba said ZEC was an independent body and was not influenced by Government, any organisation or individuals. Police Commissioner General Matanga also said that the Zimbabwe Republic Police has also put in place a cocktail of measures to ensure that this week’s harmonised elections are held in a peaceful environment.
Comm-Gen Matanga said save for a few isolated incidents of politically motivated violence, the electoral period has largely been peaceful, a guarantee that the country will hold credible polls.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has put in place a cocktail of measures to ensure that the elections are held in a conducive environment that facilitates free, fair, peaceful and credible elections. The period leading up to elections has thus far been generally peaceful.
“However, we have witnessed some few isolated incidents of both intra and inter party politically motivated violence,” he said.
One of the incidents took place in the capital recently, where an opposition Citizens Coalition for Change supporter lost his life. The matter is still in the courts, while a post-mortem is also expected to be conducted.
Comm-Gen Matanga said the police has since deployed adequate officers across the country to ensure that the peace being experienced in the country prevails until after the polls.
“We have deployed adequate officers. In addition, we have roped in Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services officers so that we boost our deployments. We want to assure the observer missions that safety is guaranteed. We will continue to monitor the situation,” he said.
Zimbabweans go to the polls this Wednesday to elect the President, National Assembly members and representatives for local authorities. The election will use new delimitation boundaries.
The harmonised elections will see 11 candidates contesting the presidential polls, 518 National Assembly constituency candidates sponsored by political parties and 64 independent candidates, while 4 648 local authority candidates are contesting with 266 of them being independent.
Ninety-one local authority wards are uncontested.