HARARE – The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has said it will transport ballot papers for the forthcoming elections and not the military.
This follows a furore created by military spokesperson Overson Mugwisi who told a news conference last week they were ready to assist the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) with logistics during elections.
“Our role in the elections is mainly to support the ZRP in their role of maintenance of the law and order in the country before, during and after the harmonised elections. We also remain ready to assist Zec with transport where necessary,” he said.
Addressing journalists at the police general headquarters in Harare yesterday, officer commanding the ZRP 2018 elections committee, Erasmus Makodza, said contrary to claims that the army will be responsible for transporting ballot papers, that will be the responsibility of the police.
“The army is not involved in the transportation of ballot papers but the police, unless there are areas where there are accessibility challenges such that there is need to airlift the ballot papers, yes, we will get their help,” Makodza told a news conference.
Makodza’s assurance reinforced what Zec had earlier in the week told the media at its Monday routine briefing that the military will not transport election material to and from the polling stations when the country goes to the polls on July 30.
Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said “it will certainly not be the military, it will be the printers.”
This came amid complaints by MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa that Zec was resisting calls for it to urgently address grievances over ballot paper printing and a shambolic voter register.
Zimbabwe stages keenly watched presidential, parliamentary and local elections on July 30, the first post-Robert Mugabe vote.
Chamisa and his MDC Alliance are the main rivals to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the first poll since Mugabe resigned last November following an army coup.
Chamisa and his MDC will stage a protest today to resist alleged attempts by Zec to put it at a disadvantage to Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu PF party, a street march that will also target the integrity of the voters’ roll and the design, printing and storage of ballot papers.
Zec has rapped the MDC Alliance for making what it called “frivolous” complaints.