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Zec dismisses misleading social media claims

by Staff reporter
24 Mar 2022 at 05:21hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has dismissed misleading allegations circulating on social media platforms relating to ballot papers, voters roll and perceived stringent requirements for polling agents.

In a statement yesterday, Zec said the allegations were not only false but malicious as they have an effect of disturbing the smooth running of the by-elections set for this Saturday.

"The Commission is concerned that some stakeholders have gone on an overdrive to peddle misinformation and falsehoods in order to scuttle the smooth conduct of the by-election concerned.

Zec categorically denies changing any symbol of any political party and wishes to advise all stakeholders concerned to dismiss these assertions with the contempt they deserve," said Zec..

It said it has always printed party symbols and pictures of candidates on ballot papers for elections in black and white and all candidates have always been treated the same with no exception.

"This is done to ensure fairness to all and that no candidate is prejudiced or given an unfair advantage over others," said Zec.

The electoral body said there is no law that obliges the Commission to print ballot papers or party symbols or candidate pictures in colour that correspond to contesting candidates or parties.

"In conducting elections, the Commission is guided by a given legal framework and not by logic.

The Commission is not averse to any changes in the law that will accommodate their concerns but it would be quick to remind them that they are the responsible parties for the enactment of laws in this country through their representatives in Parliament," said Zec.

Regarding the voter's roll, the Commission said the documents to be used on Saturday polls are in line with the Presidential Proclamation No. 1 of 2022 while the closure for local authorities' voters rolls varied depending on as and when the vacancies for the respective wards arose in line with the stated provisions.

"The Commission has indeed received a complaint from a stakeholder that it has received information to the effect that it will be recording names of polling agents for the purposes of contact tracing in the event of Covid-19 cases and that it has barred the bringing of cellphones, pens, note books and torch cells in the polling stations by polling agents," read the statement
Zec said it 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 only but to every person who visits the polling station for whatever reason.

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," it said.

Zec said it was 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.

"The prohibition of use of cellphones in the actual polling station has always been a standing procedure as this may lead to disruptive activity in the polling station if not controlled.

However, agents or other electoral officials are not prohibited from using their gadgets outside the polling station."

Zec also set the record straight regarding an alleged ballot box in the hands of ZRP St Peter's in Murewa South saying the Commission does not use such ballot boxes for election purposes.

"The country has been using translucent ballot boxes since 2008.

Those who have voted since 2008 are now familiar with the ballot boxes that are being used for purposes of elections in this country.

We urge the public not to view the story seriously.

It is critical for stakeholders to disseminate accurate and correct information to their supporters," it said.

Zec also called on all stakeholders to promote a conducive political environment that will result in peaceful electoral processes.

Source - The Chronicle
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