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Zimbabwe Early Vote Bungle Raises Concern For Elections

HARARE — The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has criticised the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) for bungling the distribution of ballot papers in the special voting period for uniformed forces ahead of the country’s national elections on July 31.

The special voting period should be extended, the network, which brings together 31 organisations in Zimbabwe that co-ordinate election activities, said on Monday.

This follows delays in voting on Sunday that affected thousands of police and soldiers intending to cast their vote across the country.

At a press conference held in Harare on Monday, ZESN chairman Solomon Zwana said his organisation was concerned about the chaos that prevailed during the special voting process, which served as an indication that the problems could be repeated on July 31.

“We foresee doom in the upcoming election, and if anything that occurred within the past two days was anything to go by, then we are concerned that with only 16 days to the national elections, this shoddy state of affairs could affect the ZEC’s preparedness to fully manage the election process on July 31,” he said.

“We therefore urge that adequate resources are availed to the ZEC to ensure that the organisation carries out its constitutionally mandated duties.”

The ZESN also had a dig at the lack of transparency of the voters’ roll, which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said is being manipulated by state security agents together with an Israel-linked firm, Nikuv International Projects.

“The voters’ roll remains a contentious issue and we reiterate the need for the electoral commission to ensure that an updated voters’ roll is easily accessible to the public for inspection in both hard copy and electronic format,” Mr Zwana said.

Meanwhile, Judge President George Chiweshe postponed to Wednesday an appeal from the MDC to nullify the special vote on the grounds of questionable voter figures for the police.

The MDC, which argues that the police force numbers only 44,000, contests the ZEC’s 69,000 ballots that it expected for the special vote.

Source – BD Live