Police called as MDC supporters storm police voting venue in Bulawayo

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

ANTI-RIOT police were called in to disperse hordes of MDC Alliance supporters who had stormed Bulawayo’s Ross Camp to “monitor” the police postal voting process which spilled into Friday.

Zimbabwe’s poll processes were thrown into fresh controversy Thursday when police officers were summoned to cast their postal ballots in front of their superiors.

Even more astonishing was the absence of ZEC officials or any other stakeholder during Thursday’s polling, something that was strongly condemned by the country’s broader opposition and civic groups.

Although ZEC officials initially denied the process indeed took place, its acting chief elections officer, Utoile Silaigwana later confirmed Friday postal voting had since started for all those who had applied to vote under the facility.

During the controversial process Friday, MDC Alliance supporters in party regalia took time to stage a demonstration over what was initially an opaque process.

The placard waving MDC faithful also kept a watchful eye on the voting by police officers.

Apparently uncomfortable with swelling numbers of opposition supporters at the venue, anti-riot police were called to disperse the restive crowd.

Gift Banda, who is provincial chair for the Nelson Chamisa led MDC-T, said police ordered the Alliance supporters to vacate the venue.

“We had come to observe the whole voting process because we are not happy with what happened yesterday (Thursday) where police were voting under instructions from their commanders.

“Now that we have been ordered out of the venue, we are afraid that the officers again be forced to vote for a particular candidate against their will,” Banda said.

He said before their ejection from the venue, the police officers seemed to have been granted their right to vote in secret.

“At least there was order and a bit of transparency this morning,” Banda said.

“The observers were also there but our major fear is how secure is the vote. 

“We are worried about how the vote is going to be kept and forwarded to the relevant ward for the final counting.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to deliver a clean poll but his opposition challengers accuse their main opponent of maintaining a veil of secrecy around some poll processes amid vote rigging fears.

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