ZRP Has Clarified The Role Of Police Officers At Polling Stations

Source: ZRP Has Clarified The Role Of Police Officers At Polling Stations

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) clarified the duties of police officers at polling stations, emphasising that their role is to manage and monitor the station. This clarification comes in response to allegations suggesting that police officers are at polling stations only to aide illiterate or physically handicapped voters which is the responsibility of Presiding Officers. In a statement seen by Pindula News, police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said:

ZIMBABWE REPUBLIC POLICE’S CLARITY ON ALLEGATIONS CONCERNING THE PRESENCE OF POLICE OFFICERS AT POLLING STATIONS AND VOTING BY ILLITERATE AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED VOTERS

The Zimbabwe Republic Police clarifies the exact position with regards to the deployment of police officers at polling stations and voting process by illiterate or physically handicapped voters.

Police officers are deployed at polling stations to ensure that law and order is maintained in line with provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act, Chapter 2:13.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police is aware of allegations made by some political parties and civic organizations to some observers concerning police officers’ role and voting by illiterate or physically handicapped voters. According to the Electoral Act, Chapter 2:13, section 59 (1)(b), in a situation where an illiterate or handicapped voter does not have a person of his or her own choice (confidante) to assist him or her to exercise a right to vote the Electoral Act provides that the Presiding Officer must assist the voter in the presence of two electoral officers or employees of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and a police officer on duty.

This specific assistance given to a voter is not done by a police officer. It is actually the mandate of the Presiding Officer who will assist in the presence of electoral officers and a police officer.

The police officer is called to ensure law and order is maintained. Thereafter, the Presiding Officer must record particulars of the assisted voter in terms of the Electoral Act, Chapter 2: 13.

Allegations that police officers have sole responsibility of assisting illiterate or physically handicapped voters are therefore not correct and must be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police assures the public that it is ready to ensure a peaceful environment exist in the country for the hold of free, fair and credible elections on 23rd August 2023.

Political parties are implored to be exemplary in conduct and avoid the use of inflammatory or divisive language in their messages to the public.

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