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ZEC Boss Spills The Beans On Police’s Controversial Involvement In Elections

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba has opened up on the police’s controversial involvement in the country’s previous polls, including demanding election results and prematurely carting them off to “unknown destinations” in the full glare of observers fueling the rumors that the electoral body and the state security were in cahoots to ‘rig’  the elections.

“There are reports from previous elections, where the relationship between electoral and police officers could best be described as acrimonious, as the former felt as if the latter were there to oversee the running of the election,” she said.

“There are also reports of police officers, who were openly demanding electoral statistics from polling officers, then radio them in the full glare of the public and observers. We do not know where these statistics were being channelled to, but we know they were not being sent through the Zec structures.

“Such behaviour created an impression that the Zec and the ZRP are devious players in the electoral field.”

Chigumba said this behaviour prompted  the demand for electoral law reforms.

“It is not surprising that one of the electoral reforms that has been brought before Parliament intends to redefine the role of police officers at polling stations,” she said.

“We cannot afford to have this happening during the 2018 harmonised elections because it sends the wrong signal to the observers, as it undermines the independence of the Zec.”

The opposition  in the past has lamented on the police’s alleged selective application of the law, where they appeared to be biased in favour of Zanu PF.

Chigumba said retired soldiers, police and intelligence officers constituted about 15% of Zec’s 375 workforce.

Also speaking at the same event, Police boss Godwin Matanga ordered his officers to discharge their duties in a professional manner before, during and after the general elections to maintain peace and order while upholding the integrity of the polls.

“While the high level of interest generated both locally and internationally concerning the need for the country to hold free, fair, transparent and credible elections cannot be ignored, any failure on our part as police to professionally discharge our duties and responsibilities will go against the grain of proclamations made by His Excellency, President [Emmerson] Mnangagwa that this year’s elections will be peaceful, free and fair,” he said.

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