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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Traditional leaders and police assist voters in rural areas
Karimakwenda, SW Radio Africa
July 31, 2013
View this article
on the SW Radio Africa website
Voters in many
rural areas of Zimbabwe were told by traditional leaders and police
to pretend they did not know how to vote on election day, according
to a local observer group that deployed teams to monitor polling
stations around the country.
for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) reported that large
numbers of voters, especially in rural areas like Chegutu and Murehwa,
asked to be assisted to vote by officials on Wednesday.
Phillip Pasirayi said voting proceeded peacefully in most areas,
but there were some “very worrying” incidents that marred
the day and could very well affect the outcome of the election.
there is the issue of assisted voters, particularly in the rural
areas and the farming communities. There is a trend that we are
seeing of assisted voters, who turn up saying that they do not know
how to vote. And they are being assisted by election officials.
this was worrying because officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) were hired by Zanu-PF and support Robert Mugabe.
In addition Pasirayi strongly criticized the police for violating
electoral laws by operating inside polling stations. CCDZ observers
reported that policemen were seen operating inside many polling
stations, and allegedly interfering with the voters.
says that police officers are not supposed to be inside polling
stations. But we are getting it from our observers that in the majority
of stations where they visited, the polling officers are interfering
with the voting process. They were seen organizing queues and issuing
instructions,” Pasirayi explained.
The CCDZ director
said they were also very concerned by reports about Zanu-PF bases
and camps that had been set up in some constituencies, particularly
in Chegutu and Murehwa.
He said: “We
hear that there are camps that have been set up whereby names of
people are being recorded, whereby people are being asked how they
voted. So this is very worrying.”
from the CCDZ confirm what many residents in rural areas have told
SW Radio Africa over the last few months. It had been alleged that
traditional chiefs and sabhukus were threatening villagers in their
wards, saying they would be evicted or punished in some way if they
voted for the MDC-T.
of overt violence does not mean that there is a credible election,”
Pasirayi added, saying there was “a margin of terror”
in the results from the
2008 election due to violence. But “a margin error”
applies to this election due to the rigging strategies being used
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