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The Electoral Amendment Bill Concerns Election Watchdog

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday started deploying polling officers to different polling stations across the country ahead of Wednesday’s harmonised elections after they completed their training exercise.

Police have also said they will be equal to the task of ensuring peace prevail during and after the elections urging people to go home and resume their duties after voting.

The deployment of polling officers mainly drawn from the civil service is being done simultaneously with the distribution of ballot papers and other material needed during the election process.

The officers will man the 12 370 polling stations established countrywide.

ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utloile Silaigwana confirmed to Sunday News in an interview yesterday that all was set for the Wednesday harmonised elections saying the deployment would be done in a phased approach. “The deployment of polling officers begins today (yesterday) soon after completing training but it is a process and is dependent on the size of the province. Some have already started deploying while others will commence deployment tomorrow (today). As they do so their election material also goes with them.

“We have taken it as a strategy that we deploy materials and officers to those provinces that are very far and wide in terms of their geographical distance. Provinces like Matabeleland North and Midlands and so on, we will be deploying in phases,” said Mr Silaigwana.

He said their last training also included political party election agents who they wanted to appreciate the polling processes adding that it was not mandatory for political parties to send their polling agents.

“Our training was also phased, we started with constituency election officers then followed with ward election officers. We then trained presiding officers and this last training we just completed was for polling officers where we also invited political parties’ election agents so that they appreciate the polling process. However, this was not a must, we just extended our invitation and some attended but others did not show up. Our aim is to ensure that all polling officers are at their respective stations by Monday,” said Mr Silaigwana.

He said in terms of the Electoral Act and for purposes of the 2023 elections, Minting and Printing Company of Zimbabwe (MPCZ) was given the mandate to print all ballot papers to be used.

He said a total of 7 126 600 presidential ballot papers have been printed.

“Seven million and ninety-eight thousand, seven hundred and fifty (7 098 750) National Assembly ballot papers and six million eight hundred and sixty-one thousand, six hundred and fifty (6 861 650) local authority ballot papers have been printed for the conduct of elections on the 23 August 2023,” he said.

He clarified that the number of ballot papers printed for each of the three elections was different because with respect to the National Assembly election an independent candidate for Gutu West Nation Assembly constituency passed away and the election would be conducted on a later date.

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