Zec orders COVID-19 contact tracing for voters, agents

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Zec also revealed that in local authority elections, 15,5% female candidates won compared to 84,5% males.

BY STAFF REPORTER
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday said all polling agents, observers and voters in tomorrow’s by-elections will be subjected to COVID-19 contact tracing in the interest of public health.

Zimbabwe will tomorrow hold by-elections, the country’s first polls under COVID-19 conditions, to fill 28 parliamentary and 105 local government seats left vacant after deaths, diplomatic postings and recalls of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors.

Zec said it had roped in health professionals to ensure the safety of voters and polling agents.

“The commission wishes to place it on record that indeed names of people visiting or deployed at the polling stations will be recorded. However, such recording will not be restricted to polling agents, but to every person who visits the polling station for whatever reason,” Zec said in a statement.

“This is to enable contact tracing in the event of any detected cases of COVID-19 pandemic and the commission has enlisted the help of Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe and other qualified health personnel to assist in that endeavour.

“Further, it is also important for the public to know that all polling officials, visitors, observers and polling agents are always recorded in the protocol register during polls and this has been the practice even prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Zec dismissed claims by Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) that its symbols on the voters roll had been changed.

The CCC raised the complaint after it emerged that its yellow symbols were printed in black and white, claiming that this was an attempt to confuse voters.

“The commission has always printed party symbols and pictures of candidates on ballot papers for elections in black and white. As already stated before, there is no law that obliges the commission to print ballot papers or party symbols or candidate pictures in colours that correspond to contesting candidates or parties.”

Zec said it would use the voters roll that was closed on January 8 after President Emmerson Mnangagwa proclaimed the by-election dates.

The opposition has been demanding use of the 2018 voters roll, saying the current one was littered with discrepancies.

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