Judicial Legal-Judicial


HARARE — The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has urged international observers invited to monitor the country’s July 30 elections to be neutral while dismissing allegations that

it is ill-prepared to handle the polls.

Zimbabwe has for the first time in nearly two decades invited election observers from the European Union (EU) and other Western countries which were previously barred, to monitor the elections, in line with the pledge by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hold free, fair and credible elections.

Western countries have said the elections would be used as a yardstick for a crucial re-engagement programme which Zimbabwe has embarked on to rebuild its economy which has been battered by years of isolation.

ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said Friday the commission was doing its best to deliver a credible election. “?Let me urge you to conduct your duties responsibly, as you may be aware our country is on the path to recovery in many aspects,” she said.

“We would like to implore you to kindly be temperate in your approach and avoid language that is inflammatory. We need peace as a nation and look forward to have a normal life like all of you and therefore kindly be honest in all that you do.”

Chigumba explained the processes ZEC had taken so far in preparation for the election, including producing a voters roll and printing ballot papers. She said ballot paper printing had been completed, with proof reading

and quality checks taking place.

“With regards to electoral reforms, some reforms were undertaken through the Electoral Amendment Act which aligned the electoral law to the Constitution,” she said.

Chigumba also denied that the postal vote system was being abused to disenfranchise opposition parties.

She said the commission had received 7,600 applications for postal votes under provisions of section 75 of the Electoral Act.

“This provision clearly stipulates that voting by such a voter in terms of section 75 is done secretly and not in the presence of any person. Allegations that postal voting is being conducted in the manner described on social media or in pictures circulating on social media are regrettable,” she added.

“No postal voting station has been set up or will be set up by the Commission. Postal voters are free to vote secretly for any candidate of their choice as provided for by the law, so in other words the Zimbabwe

Electoral Commission, in terms of the law, is not obliged to set up polling stations to administer postal voting. There are no ballot boxes.”