Concerns over special voting mount in Zimbabwe
By Janet Shoko
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has announced that the country’s armed forces
will vote mid July amid reports that over 50 000 police officers have
registered as special voters.
The special vote is meant to afford an opportunity for police, solders and
civil servants who would be deployed outside of their constituencies to
Normal voting is set for July 31.
However, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T has raised concerns that
the special votes would be rigged in favour of rival President Mugabe.
His party said it has unearthed a massive scam where Zanu-PF allegedly
plotted to rig the elections using State security agents and a hired Israeli
But national chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity
Charamba has dismissed the allegations saying there is nothing sinister with
the force voting earlier.
She said as police, they did not enact laws such as the Electoral Act and
they only implement the laws after the legislators would have debated and
passed them in Parliament.
“Surprisingly, those that are vested with the powers of enacting these laws
are now questioning the application of this law,” she said.
MDC-T claims that the voting would be under the supervision of senior
officers raising fears of manipulation.
In the past, armed forces members used ballots that had their force numbers
printed on them, making it easy for senior officers to identify culprits who
vote against their preferred candidates.′′
But unlike previous elections where officers on duty cast their ballots
inside police, prison and army camps, this time members who apply for the
special vote will use polling stations located in schools or in public
The special vote has replaced the postal ballot, under laws contained in the
new constitution.′′In the past week senior security force officials have
been urging juniors to vote for Mugabe and Zanu-PF candidates.′′
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora says election observers must be deployed
to monitor police voting.
“This is very critical as to ensure that we have free and fair elections”