Police warned on Tuesday they will deal harshly with unruly behaviour during and after the election process.

The country goes to the polls today to elect a new President, and parliamentary and local government representatives.

In a statement on the eve of the elections, Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga warned political parties and civic organisations against inciting the public.

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Social media has been awash with calls by some political parties and civic organisations for people to gather at polling stations after casting their vote in what they are calling “defend your vote through REP (register, elect and protect)”.

“The public should note that the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13 is not the only piece of legislation that regulates public gatherings,” Comm-Gen Matanga said.

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“We also have the Maintenance of Order and Peace Act 11:23, which clearly stipulates that among other public gatherings, all politically-inclined gatherings must be duly notified and subsequently sanctioned by the relevant regulating authority,” he said.

In this regard, Comm-Gen Matanga said any gatherings at polling stations, collation, constituency, provincial and national command centres will be unlawful.

He said police will deal with any such illegal gatherings outside polling stations by invoking necessary security measures to maintain peace and order without fear or favour.

Matanga also gave a stern warning to those that are planning to announce election results through statistics availed by some party polling agents, saying only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was authorised to do so.

He encouraged voters to peacefully cast their votes and return home or engage in any socio-economic activities away from the vicinity of polling stations.

– New Ziana

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