Polling officers hired by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) during the inspection of the delimitation voters’ roll in July have accused the electoral management body of going quiet on their payments, with some saying they feel used.
The inspection of the voters’ roll to be used in the delimitation of constituencies and electoral boundaries was carried out from July 17 to 26 across the country.
Some of the polling officers who were manning polling stations have revealed that ZEC has not paid them for the services they rendered.
What is also aggravating their situation is that they were never told how much they would be paid as that was left out in the contracts they signed.
“We were supposed to be paid 80% of the salary while we were at work to sustain us during the programme,” said one polling officer.
“As for the 20% they did not say when we were going to get it. We were also not told how much we were going to be paid. We still don’t know even now so no one knew how much the 80% would be.”
He said ZEC was not giving them any reasons for the delays.
“No one knows what’s going on; we are just waiting,” said the polling officer.
“The delay has set me back on my savings because l used the money to go for training which lasted five days and l also used my savings during the exercise hoping to replace it with the money l was going to get from ZEC but no one from ZEC is saying anything about it.”
The polling officer further said: “l think ZEC is taking advantage of poorly paid people using them for their exercises with fake promises and then just dumping us at the end of the process with no regard as to how we are supposed to survive after using funds that were set aside for other purposes which is not fair on our part.”
ZEC hires civil servants who are seconded by their ministries as polling officers in its electoral processes.
During the training, which lasted for five days polling officers who were based in Lupane said they were buying their own food.
“We don’t know whom we are supposed to ask about the payments, so people are just complaining on WhatsApp group platforms,” said the polling officer.
“Our supervisors are there in those chat groups but they are not permanent ZEC employees so they are saying nothing.”
Another polling officer said he felt let down by ZEC.
“Budget-wise, we spent a lot during training as nothing was offered; logistics, transport, food, accommodation were all on participants,” he said.
“We are in a nation where citizens are of no value, where human rights abuse is a daily meal by those in power. Personally, l believe their (ZEC’s) silence is based on their political muscle. My wish is to see those ZEC officials addressing the matter even on app groups as we have them in our groups.”
ZEC spokesperson, Commissioner Jasper Mangwana said they were working on the payments and referred further questions to their chief elections officer, Otoile Silaigwana, saying he was better positioned to give an accurate position on the issue.
However, Silaigwana’s mobile phone went unanswered.
“What I can say is that the commission is working on the issue and part of the people have been paid,” Mangwana told CITE.
“We are consolidating that. It’s unfortunate that there has been a delay.”