ZEC ready for harmonised polls
Auxilia Katongomara & Leonard Ncube Bulawayo Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says its modalities are now in place ahead of the 2018 harmonised polls set for Monday and has urged political players to wind up their campaigns tomorrow.
The electoral body says it has dispatched personnel and material well in advance to ensure that the electoral process goes ahead smoothly without delays.
In an interview yesterday, ZEC Commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo said preparations were on schedule.
“It’s all systems go for the Commission. We have completed training of polling officers all over the country and as of today we were already doing the process of deployment of some of the personnel including the election material that is going to be used in those places.
Over and above that we have prepared the polling stations wherever they are, if they are within a building of schools or other buildings they are now ready,” he said.
Dr Moyo said they had also erected tents in areas where they have no buildings or schools available to use as polling stations.
“We are doing our deployment well in advance, three days before unlike in previous years where we were doing it two days before.
“We want to make sure that on Election Day we don’t have a situation where some areas receive material either too late into the night the day before the election or a situation where we have people that don’t receive material on time,” he said.
Dr Moyo said political parties must wind up their public campaigns tomorrow as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
“Political parties will be winding their campaigns; the last day for public gatherings for campaigns is going to be on Saturday, which is 48 hours before the Election Day.
“One of the key things that the voting population should not do on Election Day is to go putting on party regalia, T-shirts and everything else with political messages must be left at home. You must put on your normal clothing which has no campaign material,” he said.
Dr Moyo said the electorate must produce national identity cards or valid passports when they go to cast their votes.
He emphasised that a driver’s licence was not acceptable as an ID for voting purposes.
“We also want to remind people that when they have voted they should also make sure that they move away from the polling stations and not gather at polling stations. They must wait for results far away at home or somewhere else,” said Dr Moyo.
He sad on Election Day, party posters or campaign material is strictly prohibited within a radius of 300 metres of the polling station.
“It’s important that people don’t campaign there or put their material. On the other hand we want to buttress the issue that for women, cutex on your finger will create distortions in terms of the marking that we do on your finger.
So we will advise ladies that at least one of their fingers -the little finger – is free from any marking or cutex,” Dr Moyo said.
He said police that will be providing security on Election Day have also been deployed together with other staff in every part of the country.
“Basically, we are almost getting to D-day. The environment is very peaceful, there is respect for diversity,” he said.
Meanwhile, voters who will make a mistake on the ballot paper while casting their vote will be given another ballot paper and opportunity to vote while still in the booth, an official has said.
Speaking at the Victoria Falls Press Club on Wednesday evening, Zec Commissioner Sibusiso Ndlovu said an excess of 10 percent of required ballot papers will be printed to cater for the contingency measure.
She said political parties will be updated about the excess ballot papers once printing is completed.
“If somebody feels that he or she has made a mistake, they will have to say it and no one will ask to see how and where the mistake was made. The person will be given another ballot paper. The presiding officer will issue an envelope, fold the ballot paper and place it in the envelope and indicate that it’s a cancelled ballot,” said Commissioner Ndlovu.
She, however, said the privilege, which is in terms of the Electoral Act, is limited.
“You can even stop when you are about to deposit the ballot paper in the box and indicate that you made a mistake. However, what we will not allow is when one says he or she made a mistake when they have already dropped it (ballot paper) in the box,” said Commissioner Ndlovu.
She jokingly said those who will make a mistake more than once will be taken for counselling or examined for mental illness.
Fidelity Printers is printing the Presidential and House of Assembly ballots while Printflow is printing the local authority ones.
Meanwhile, training of polling and election agents and observers ended on Wednesday paving the way for deployment which is expected to end tomorrow.
Commissioner Ndlovu said preparations are going on well.
“We are happy so far with preparations and hope by Sunday we will be done with everything. People are being deployed early so they get used to the polling stations,” she said.
Candidates who attended the Press Club discussion Mr Morgen Dube of MDC-T and Mr Jonson Ndlovu of Mthwakazi Republic Party said so far they are happy with preparations.
Mr Ndlovu, popularly known as Joe Mafu, however, expressed concern about tearing of posters by rival candidates which he said had forced his party to resort to door-to-door campaigning.