Polls: Zesn deploys 7 000 observers

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THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has deployed over 7 000 trained and accredited citizen observers to all the 210 constituencies for the crucial elections tomorrow.

Hazel Ndebele

“For elections to be credible, however, they must be more than just peaceful. At a minimum, citizens must have an equal chance to register to vote, to inform themselves about all the candidates, to cast their ballot free from fear and for their votes to be properly counted,”  Zesn chairperson Solomon Zwana said.

Since the proclamation of the July 31 election date, the organisation’s observers have observed the nomination court process, the mobile voter registration exercise and the special voting process, raising issues needed to be addressed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

“Observers will be at polling stations in every corner of the country to help safeguard the process so that all eligible citizens can vote and that their votes are properly counted,” added Zwana.

All observers have been accredited by the Zec; have attended a training session on election observation and have pledged to behave at all times in a non-partisan manner and to adhere to both Zec and Zesn’s codes of conduct in the observation of elections.

Zesn expressed concern over the challenges faced with voter registration and logistical problems during the special voting process, unequal coverage by state media and harassment of civil society.

Although it is impossible for Zec to address some of the outstanding issues with only a few hours before the polls, Zesn however encouraged all eligible voters, regardless of political affiliation to peacefully exercise their right to vote as enshrined in the Constitution.

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