by Farai Mabeza | The Zimbabwean
At a polling station visited by The Zimbabwean at Pagejo Rarubi Primary School in Goromonzi West in Ward eight, an unidentified individual was seen giving instructions to the presiding officer from time to time.
The individual barred the MDC-T polling agent from giving an interview to The Zimbabwean. As soon as he observed this reporter talking to the agent he quickly rushed to the presiding officer to tell her to stop the interview.
The presiding officer immediately shouted: “You can’t talk to the agents because when they are here they are under our command.” While all the polling officers were identified by their official tags, the suspected agent did not have any tag. He instructed a police officer at the polling station to monitor the movements of this reporter.
The MDC-T polling agent was in the process of giving information about people who had been turned away from the station – 66 had been turned away by 5 pm.
MDC-T has alleged that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is heavily staffed with security operatives. Analysts say the role of security sector has intensified since Zanu (PF)’s loss in the March 2008 elections. Even grassroots structures in the party are now said to be in the hands of the military.
In the run up to the elections there were persistent reports that ZEC officials were being replaced with members of the security forces.
This was after the chaos that characterised the special ballot held on July 14 and 15 for government employees, ZEC officials and police officers who were to be deployed on July 31.
Some analysts have also said that Zanu (PF)’s political strategy is now in the hands of the Joint Operations Command.