Saturday, 14 July 2018

POSTAL VOTES : CHAMISA GOES TO COURT

THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has approached the High Court seeking to have postal ballots cast in police camps nullified for violating provisions of the Electoral Act.



MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said what happened at Ross Camp Police Station in Bulawayo on Thursday where police officers were allegedly forced to cast their votes under the watchful eye of their bosses was a violation of their constitutional rights and defeated the purpose of the postal ballot.
“We have filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court in Mutare to nullify all postal ballots cast in police stations and cantonment areas under the supervision of senior police officers and in the absence of our polling agents,” he said.
MDC Alliance members on Thursday night slept at the Ross Camp in Bulawayo to stop police officers from casting their ballots in front of their superiors.
There was tension yesterday at the Ross Camp, with riot police camping near the area as the MDC Alliance activists stood their ground refusing to leave, demanding transparency in the manner the postal ballot system was handled.
Under the Electoral Act, postal voting does not entail casting a vote in front of one’s superiors.
In an interview, MDC Alliance’s Bulawayo chief election agent Gideon Shoko said the opposition would continue with their overnight vigils at Ross Camp to stop what he claimed was an attempt to rig the elections.
“I slept here with some of the members because we were watching over the ballots that had already been cast. Because we didn’t want them to tamper with everything, so we kept a vigil overnight,” Shoko said.
MDC-T Bulawayo central legislator Dorcas Sibanda and several other aspiring local government and parliamentary candidates also slept at the police camp.
“What we discovered is that the police had set up a polling station. We believe, according to the law, when you set up a polling station situation, you then need polling agents. Since agents are not needed on postal votes, so the mistake that they made was to then set up a polling station. We are against that.
“We were trying to engage the police administration so that they don’t set up a polling station here. If they want to deal with that issue, the way forward would be calling all the police officers and give them their envelopes and allow them to disperse and do whatever they want to do with the ballot papers,” Shoko said.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said the postal voting in Bulawayo was chaotic and lacked transparency. Newsday

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