ZRP denies claims of voter assistance

By Promise Dube

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has denied claims that its officers deployed to polling stations will be assisting illiterate or physically handicapped voters to cast their votes.

In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the ZRP had received information that some political parties and civic organisations had raised concerns about the role of police officers during elections.

“According to the Electoral Act, Chapter 2:13, section 59 (1)(b), in a situation where an illiterate or handicapped voter does not have a person of his or her own choice (confidante) to assist him or her to exercise a right to vote, the Electoral Act provides that the Presiding Officer must assist the voter in the presence of two electoral officers or employees of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and a police officer on duty,” Nyathi said.

“This specific assistance given to a voter is not done by a police officer. It is actually the mandate of the Presiding Officer who will assist in the presence of electoral officers and a police officer.”

Nyathi said police officers are deployed at polling stations to “ensure that law and order is maintained in line with provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act, Chapter 2:13”.

He added that the allegations that police officers would be assisting voters were “not correct and must be dismissed with the contempt they deserve”.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police assures the public that it is ready to ensure a peaceful environment exists in the country for the holding of free, fair and credible elections on 23 August 2023,” Nyathi said.

Nyathi also implored political parties to be exemplary in conduct and avoid the use of inflammatory or divisive language in their messages to the public.

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