Police in postal vote storm

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) yesterday brew a shocker when it clandestinely conducted postal voting for officers in Bulawayo amid reports they were forced to cast ballots before their superiors, NewsDay has learnt.

SILAS NKALA/KENNETH NYANGANI/TAFADZWA MUTACHA

Disgruntled police officers let the “cat out of the bag” after reportedly being forced to cast their ballots before their bosses, a claim the police refuted. Images and videos of police officers at Ross Camp in Bulawayo queuing to cast their vote started to emerge yesterday afternoon amid contradictions by the police and Zec exposing the growing chasm between the institutions.

The postal voting was reportedly conducted in the absence of candidates and political parties’ representatives who are at law supposed to witness the process.

Zec Bulawayo provincial elections officer Innocent Ncube claimed he was not aware of the postal voting.

“I am not sure of what is going on. It is only that their postal ballots are sent to stations and they vote before sending them in one lot. Maybe, you can check with (Zec) headquarters or the police headquarters,” Ncube said.

But, police elections commander Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza, dismissed allegations of a plot to rig the polls and confirmed the process was being supervised by Zec.

“The correct position is that some police officers will be performing security duties in other provinces which are not their normal work stations. Thus in terms of Section 72 of the Electoral Act, the concerned police officers will exercise their right to vote through postal ballot system which is being administered by the Zec,” he said.

National Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed to Studio 7 that postal voting was taking place but denied reports that they were being forced.

“There is no police officer police officer who is being forced to vote. An officer is given a sealed envelope to vote at a secluded area. The voting is taking place in the presence of observers,” she said.

Acting chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana, who was said to be in a meeting was quoted dismissing the postal voting as “untrue”. “Postal is an individual who says I am applying for postal voting and he or she is given a ballot paper in an envelope and he returns it sealed. This is cheap propaganda without substance at all,” Silaigwana reportedly said.

MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa and other opposition leaders, immediately demanded Zec stop the police postal voting process, accusing the force of attempting to rig the polls in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

NewsDay understands that the process started at Ross Camp in Bulawayo where police officers who will be deployed away from their polling stations on voting day were suddenly called to start casting their postal votes under the supervision of senior officers — chief superintendents (names supplied), a day after Zec announced it had finished printing presidential ballot papers. Addressing hundreds of party supporters at Gaza Stadium in Chipinge, Chamisa threatened to take legal action against the electoral body if they did not stop the process forthwith.

“I am told that Zec has started postal voting for police and we are saying that this should not be done in (police) camps. We need our agents to be there. This voting should be done in my presence with (President) Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he said.

Chamisa claimed the electoral body was acting under the instruction of Zanu PF. MDC Alliance last night immediately called for a press conference, which was addressed by Tendai Biti condemning the attempt to rig the polls.

Biti, however, said the most shocking and telling aspect was that Zec was unaware of the Ross Camp postal vote.

“Our officials and director of elections spent the whole day there since morning. Zec has also confirmed that they are not there and they have also confirmed their shock to the shenanigans in Bulawayo,” Biti said. He said the alliance had evidence that the police officers’ secrecy of the ballot was compromised as they voted under the watchful eyes of their bosses.

“We have agents at Ross camp as we are speaking right now and I can tell you that they have actually managed to stop the process right now as I am talking right now (sic). So we have overwhelming evidence to show omissions and commissions that took place this afternoon,” Biti said.

The sources in Bulawayo said the postal voting was presided over by senior police officers deployed from the Police General Headquarters.

At Ross Camp in Mzilikazi Bulawayo, a lengthy queue of police officers intending to cast their postal votes was observed as from 1pm.

“Rigging of elections has started already. Postal voting is happening right now at Ross Camp for those deployed in Matabeleland North. It’s supervised by the police bosses only,” one police officer said.

Bulawayo MDC Alliance spokesperson Felix Magalela Mafa Sibanda expressed dismay over the undemocratic process, saying his team went to Ross Camp where they observed the police officers casting their postal votes.

“Indeed voting is taking place at Bulawayo Ross Camp. We went there and found the police gathered in the ground. We requested to see the assistant commissioner who is in charge and he confirmed that yes they were voting. After they heard of our arrival they changed the place of voting and went to a more hidden place. Other police officers who recognised us approached us and requested that we do something,” Sibanda said.

Some police officers at Fairbridge Support Unit in Bulawayo also raised complaints that they were forced to vote under tense conditions.

Zanu PF Bulawayo spokesperson Christopher Sibanda could neither confirm nor deny if his party’s agents attended the postal voting process, indicating that it was not possible that stakeholders could have been left out in such as process.

“That is a Zec process and I do not think that the process could have been done without those participating not participating. I would believe all the stakeholders were there,” Sibanda said.

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31 Comments

  1. “The postal voting was reportedly conducted in the absence of candidates and political parties’ representatives who are at law supposed to witness the process.”Just checking facts! Which law?
    75 Voting by post
    (1) A person to whom a postal ballot has been sent shall—
    (a) signify the candidate for whom he or she wishes to vote by secretly placing on the ballot paper a
    cross in accordance with section 57(c)(ii); and
    ELECTORAL ACT [Chapter 2:13] [as amended at 25th October 2016]
    – 76 –
    (b) then place the marked ballot paper in the unmarked envelope referred to in section 74(1)(d),
    efficiently close that envelope, and then place it in the envelope marked “Ballot Paper
    Envelope” and effectively close that envelope; and
    (c) then place the envelope marked “Ballot Paper Envelope” in the covering envelope addressed to
    the Chief Elections Officer; and
    (d) then dispatch the covering envelope by registered post or by a commercial courier service or
    diplomatic courier so that it is received by the Chief Elections Officer not later than noon on the
    fourteenth day before polling day or the first polling day, as the case may be, in the election.
    (2) Where more than one election is being held concurrently in a constituency and the voter marks
    more than one ballot paper, he or she shall –
    (a)place each of the marked ballot papers in a separate unmarked envelope referred to in section 74(1)(d);
    then
    (b)place each of the envelopes referred to in paragraph (a) in a separate envelope marked “ Ballot Paper
    Envelope”; then
    (c)place each of the envelopes referred to in paragraph (b) in a single covering envelope addressed to the
    Chief Election Officer.

  2. Charity Charamba is always in denial.Even 2008 when SAC Magejo forced people to vote for ZANU at PGHQ she they still denied it

  3. The main issue is to know in advance exactly how many postal votes will be in this election before hand as they can easily be manipulated.

  4. Farai Johnson Nhire

    I will continue to remind the nation of this fact, the main oposition is scared of the polls and will do everthing possible to find a pretext for what they have already decided, that is to boycot. You people can conive with whoever and stage manage fake events to mislead observors but we know you have a position already. Your main plan on the cards is to create a Syria in Africa!

    1. Bootlicking yako yanyanyisa, zvinhu zviri pachena kudaro woti it was stage managed.ZEC and Police are contradicting each other meaning something fishy is happening. Open yo eyes and see, stop defending zvinhu zvausingazive.

    2. iwe gara pasi unyarare, usaite kunge usina ku kuenda ku school mhani

    3. I always wonder why a single individual will write an article and refer to him/her self as “we” (how many are you? or is “we” referring to Zanu PF, in which case it is clear you are not a private individual but pretending to be one). Come out openly, support your terrorist Zanu PF in the open, voters need to know who are the murderers and their supporters. Your IQ must be a fraction.

  5. Comment…varume hazviiti kuti zec izoti oposition yakunda munyika muno kubva 2000 mdc ichikunda asi zvaingonzi zanu yakunda kuvhota kutambisa nguva takavhota kare kubva 2000 kusvika 2013 mdc ichingohwina asi zec ichiti zanu yakunda panotoda matanho akasimba kutorega kuvhota zvirinani

  6. Comment…kurega kuvhota zvirinani movhoti edu anongobiwa ne zec hazvimboiti kuti oposition igonzi yakunda munyika muno kunyepa nekuda kwe zec panotoda matanho akasimba

    1. United we stand. But juss a few rotten eggs in the basket

  7. ndipo paunonzwa mumwe achiti Chamisa anotya batsard yemunhu

  8. EU, UN, SADC and AU should intervene and stop this farcical election from proceeding.

  9. How do you want to observe the postal ballot when the owner is supposed to cast the vote secretly from any one and then seal the envelope and dispatch to ZEC ? Besides , Chamisa has said all police officers belong to him . You should be happy that they are voting for you in the postal ballot . If these postal votes are not done now , it will be too late for them to be done which will leave these officers without voting . Postal ballots for those who qualify NDIZVO !!!!

  10. ZEC denied that there voting was taking place at Rose Camp, the police bosses are also denying yet there is overwhelming evidence that voting took place yesterday. If we were to follow the law accordingly, this voting that took place yesterday should be nullified

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