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Polling Preparations Press Statement 09 July 2018

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Polling Preparations Press Statement 09 July 2018

DATE: 09 JULY 2018

With just a few weeks away from 30 July 2018, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is conducting final preparations to ensure that the 2018 Harmonised elections are successful.

The Voters’ Roll
Decryption of the remaining registrants who registered during the voters’ roll inspection period was completed and these entries are now on the final voters’ roll which has a total of 5,695,706 voters. These voters are broken down as follows:

Recruitment of Electoral Officers and Training
ZEC will recruit about 130 000 officers required for the polling exercise. The Commission has already recruited 210 Constituency Elections Officers and their deputies. Their training was conducted from 02 to 04 July 2018 and they are already in the field. An additional 1958 Ward Elections Officers and their deputies have been recruited and they will be trained between 16 and 18 July 2018. The recruitment of 10 985 Presiding Officers will be finalized end of this week while that of Polling Officers will be concluded on 20 July 2018

Recruitment of the electoral staff is done in terms of Section 10 of the Electoral Act, which directs ZEC to recruit from the Public Service Commission, Parastatals, Local Authorities and the Health Services Board.

It is important to note that in order to allow those on electoral duties to vote on polling day, the Commission has facilitated postal votes for some while others will be deployed in areas they were allocated polling stations when they registered as voters.

Chiefs Council Elections
The Provincial Assemblies of Chiefs shall meet at provincial centres on 11 July 2018 to elect the members of the Council of Chiefs.
The elected Council of Chiefs will meet at Mukwati Building in Harare on 18 July 2018 at 10 o’clock in the morning for the purpose of electing the President and the Deputy President of the Council of Chiefs, who shall be ex officio Senators.

Polling Stations
The Commission has established a total of 10 985 polling stations throughout the country. The list of polling stations has been published in today’s press(09 July, 2018) and they will be published again on polling day.

The law compels the Commission to establish adequate polling stations in each of the country’s 1 958 wards with each polling station being located at a place that is readily accessible to the public, including persons with physical disabilities.

However, Section 51(1b) prohibits the establishment of polling stations in the following areas.
(a) premises owned or occupied by a political party or candidate; or
(b) in a police station, barrack, cantonment area or other place where police officers or members of the Defence Forces are permanently stationed; or
(c) premises licensed under the Liquor Act [Chapter 14:12); or
(d) any place which, for any reason, may give rise to reasonable apprehension on the part of voters as to the secrecy of their votes or the integrity of the electoral

The Commission would like to inform the public and all stakeholders that it is not necessarily true that all registration centres that were set up during the voter registration exercise will become polling stations during the 2018 Harmonised Elections. Some registration centres were just set up to facilitate ease of voter registration.
This will hopefully address false reports circulating on social media about a polling station allegedly located within a cantonment area in Dzivarasekwa.

Election Observers
The Zimbabwean law has provisions for election observers and non for election monitors.
To date(as at 07 July, 2018) the Commission has accredited 830 elections observers for the impending Harmonised elections. Of these, 170 are foreign (Foreign journalists 27, Foreign Observers 143) while the rest are local. The accreditation process will continue up to elections day.

Observers are reminded of the need to follow the Observers Code of Conduct which compels them to:
 Obey every lawful instruction by an electoral officer.
 Desist from hindering or obstructing an electoral officer from the lawful conduct of their functions.
 Desist from wearing any apparel sporting a prohibited symbol or apparel indicating any affiliation with a candidate or political party participating in the poll, nor in any other way canvass for any candidate or political party while observing the poll.
 Wear a badge or label bearing proof that he or she has been duly accredited in terms of this Act at all times within a polling station, constituency centre or ward or council centre.
 Avoid obstructing or accosting any voter at a polling station or on his or her way thereto or therefrom, nor interview any voter at a polling station.
 Avoid doing anything which compromises the secrecy of the ballot.
 Bring to the attention of the presiding officer or constituency elections officer any observed irregularity in the conduct of the poll or the counting of the votes.
 Conduct themselves in a manner conducive to the peaceful, dignified and orderly conduct of the poll.
ZEC would like to remind observers that they are not allowed to attend Multiparty Liaison Committee meetings but can only do so upon consensus among committee members. In the event that they are allowed to attend, the observers are not allowed to record proceedings.

The Commission and all electoral officers shall take all necessary steps to ensure that accredited observers are able to exercise their functions.

The Commission is taking steps towards ensuring that the elections will be conducted peacefully in an environment that ensures that the will of the electorate prevails. It is satisfied that its preparations are well on course and is ready to discharge its mandate in accordance with the law.