Zec urged to limit police involvement in elections

via Zec urged to limit police involvement in elections – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 28, 2015 by Everson Mushava

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has been urged to limit the role of police in maintaining law and order during elections and ensure they were not directly involved in the voting process.

The call was made by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) in its report for the just-ended Mudzi West parliamentary by-election held last Friday. The poll was won by Zanu PF’s Magna Mudyiwa.

“Zesn reiterates its position on police presence and roles inside the polling stations which goes against international best norms and standards. Zesn calls for the role of the police to be limited to maintaining law and order,” part of the Zesn report read.

This is not the first time civic society groups and opposition parties have raised concern over police involvement in the electoral system.

Zesn said it was also concerned by the increasing number of assisted voters and those who were turned away for various reasons chiefly failure to produce proper identification documents.

“Furthermore, Zesn noted that some of the reasons for turned away voters were: some voters had no identity documents while some were bringing the wrong identity documents and others were not appearing on the voters’ rolls.”

The independent electoral watchdog also blamed Zec for failing to conduct voter education.

“Zesn continues to note the recurring gaps and inadequacies in the legal framework of elections. The network, therefore, reiterates that electoral reforms still remain a priority in promoting credible elections.

“Zesn implores political parties, government and parliament to speed up the harmonisation of the electoral laws to the Constitution and the need for political will to fully implement the electoral provisions as Zimbabwe prepares for the 2018 elections.”