Zec warns election observers to abide by the law

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Charity Ruzvidzo

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has warned electoral observers in the country to ensure they follow the country’s law as they conduct their duties.

Addressing journalists on Monday, Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said 830 election observers have been accredited so far.

“The Zimbabwean law has provisions for election observers and non for election monitors. To date the Commission has accredited 830elections observers for the impending harmonised elections. Of these, 15 are foreign while the rest are local. The accreditation process will continue up to elections day,” she said.

Commissioner Chigumba said election observers must conduct themselves in a manner conducive to the peaceful, dignified and orderly conduct of the poll.

 “Observers are reminded of the need to follow the Observers Code of Conduct which compels them to obey every lawful instruction by an electoral officer. They should desist from hindering or obstructing an electoral officer from the lawful conduct of their functions. To also desist from wearing any apparel sporting a prohibited symbol or apparel indicating any affiliation with a candidate or political party participating in the poll, nor in any other way canvass for any candidate or political party while observing the poll.”

 “They must wear a badge or label bearing proof that he or she has been duly accredited in terms of this Act at all times within a polling station, constituency centre or ward or council centre. Avoid obstructing or accosting any voter at a polling station or on his or her way thereto or there from, nor interview any voter at a polling station. Avoid doing anything which compromises the secrecy of the ballot and bring to the attention of the presiding officer or constituency elections officer any observed irregularity in the conduct of the poll or the counting of the votes,” she said.

 Chigumba said observers are not allowed to attend Multiparty Liaison Committee meetings but can only do so upon consensus among committee members.

 In the event that they are allowed to attend, the observers are not allowed to record proceedings.

 She said the decryption of the remaining registrants who registered during the voters’ roll inspection period was completed and these entries are now on the final voters’ roll which has a total of 5,695,706 voters.

Chigumba said recruitment of the electoral staff  is done in terms of Section 10 of the Electoral Act, which directs ZEC to recruit from the Public Service Commission, Parastatals, Local Authorities and the Health Services Board.

“ZEC will recruit about 130 000 officers required for the polling exercise. The Commission has already recruited 210 Constituency Elections Officers and their deputies. Their training was conducted from 2 to 4 July 2018 and they are already in the field. An additional 1958 Ward Elections Officers and their deputies have been recruited and they will be trained between 16 and 18 July 2018. The recruitment of 10985 Presiding Officers will be finalized end of this week while that of Polling Officers will be concluded on 20 July 2018,” she said.

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