ZEC declares readiness for credible, free polls Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba addresses delegates during the ZEC 2023 Harmonised Elections observers’ briefing held in Harare yesterday. - Picture: Edward Zvemisha

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is ready to deliver free and credible elections next Wednesday with most of the logistical arrangements now in place.

The chairperson of the electoral body, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, said this at an elections observer and media briefing in Harare yesterday ahead of the harmonised elections on August 23.

Former Mozambican President Mr Joachim Chissano and the head of the Sadc Observer Mission and former Zambian vice president, Mr 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.

“The Commission has procured all essential electoral materials and has delivered 80 percent of them to provinces under police escort and I would like to thank the police, who are one of our valued stakeholders and we appreciate you.

“I would like to inform you that the Commission is ready to conduct the 2023 harmonised elections and I would like to appreciate our Ministry of Finance for funding almost 100 percent of our requirements,” she said.

“We hope to deliver a free, fair and credible election and in fact as I stand before you as Chairperson of ZEC, I would like to assure you that we have everything in place be it legal, social or any other requirement and we are eager to conduct a free, fair and credible election”.

Justice Chigumba said they had recruited about 150 000 electoral officers that would be deployed throughout the country while 12 374 polling stations had been created and the list would be published on August 23.

She said all contestants in the elections had been given copies of the voters’ roll as required by law with those contesting the local authorities’ elections being given the ward voters’ roll while those vying for the National Assembly seats got the constituency voters’ roll and the presidential candidates received the national voters’ roll.

Justice Chigumba said 6 623 511 people had been registered to vote, but the country’s laws did not compel citizens to vote. As such ZEC could only encourage people to exercise their right to vote.

As at August 14, ZEC had accredited 3 572 local observers,136 foreign observers, 376 local journalists and 15 foreign journalists.

“All duly accredited observers should familiarise themselves with the code of conduct for observers which is a subsidiary of the electoral laws,” Justice Chigumba said.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Godwin Matanga, said the situation in the country was generally peaceful ahead of the polls save for isolated incidents.

“The security situation in the country has largely remained peaceful and conducive for free, fair and credible elections,” he said.

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 sponsored by political parties are contesting with 266 of them being independent.

Ninety-one local authority candidates are uncontested.

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