The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has issued a statement on a video circulating on social media in which one of its presiding officers was “caught red-handed opening polling material” in the absence of polling agents. It is alleged that she administered them on her desk then put them back in the box in breach of s51 of the Electoral Act. In a statement, seen by Pindula News, ZEC said the officer was lawfully conducting her duties. Read the statement:
ZEC STATEMENT: HARRASSMENT OF A ZEC ELECTORAL OFFICER
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would like to express its displeasure at the harassment of its electoral officer by MDC Alliance candidate and agents at Mhizha Primary School in Highfield East Constituency yesterday 24 March 2022 while she was lawfully conducting her duties. This incident is circulating on social media misleading the electorate implying that the electoral officer is contravening the law.
Administratively the presiding officer was checking received election materials to ascertain that all was in order before the conduct of the election. The actions of the MDC Alliance candidate and agents constitute an electoral offence as outlined in section 88 of the Electoral Act as read with paragraph 7(i)(c) of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates. The Commission has reported the matter to the police for investigation.
The commission wishes to reiterate that there is a polling station opening procedure which is done before opening of the polling station, where all election material is checked and verified by the polling officers.
The Commission urges all election candidates, agents and observers to adhere to the code of conduct for observers and election agents. Only accredited people are allowed to enter polling stations outside polling period.