ZEC Defends Fraud Accused Officer; Staffer Allegedly Assaulted By Opposition Activists

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By Lisa Nyanhongo

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has expressed its disappointment after an officer was allegedly assaulted by MDC Alliance members at Mhizha Primary School in Harare’s Highfields East constituency.

Commission spokesman Jasper Mangwana said the incident has since been reported and investigations are ongoing.

Reports say the officer was nabbed by MDC Alliance candidates and agents with marked ballot papers.

Mangwana defended the officer saying she was checking whether materials received were in order before the elections.

“Administratively, the presiding officer was checking received election material to ascertain that all was in order before the conduct of the election,” he said.

“The action of the MDC Alliance candidate and agents constitute an electoral offence as outlined in the section 88 of the Electoral Act as read with paragraph 7(1)(c) of the code of conduct for political parties and candidates.

“The commission has reported the matter to the police for investigations and wishes to reiterate that there is a polling station opening procedure which is done before opening of  the polling station, where election material is checked and verified by the polling officers.”

ZEC further advised all candidates and observers to follow its code of conduct.

“The Commission urges all election candidates agents and observers to adhere to the code of conduct for observers and election agents,” read the statement.

There have been many complaints against ZEC after pressure group Team Pachedu exposed alleged attempts at rigging in favour of the ruling Zanu PF by abuse of the voters roll.

The main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is calling for the commission’s disbanding on allegations of committing electoral fraud.