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Cops banned from BVR registration

The jury is out on the recent move by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to temporarily ban all police officers from registering to vote in next year's crunch elections - which could see thousands of police officers failing to cast their ballots in the watershed 2018 polls.

This comes as the national elections management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), as well as local election observer groups are intensifying their efforts to have millions of prospective voters register in the ongoing biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have raised concern over reports that junior police officers in Matabeleland North were being forced to surrender their voter registration slips to their bosses, describing the move as part of the Zanu PF government's voter intimidation antics.

Independent electoral watchdogs and human rights groups such as the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) have also documented cases where Zanu PF supporters were allegedly demanding voter registration slips and taking down serial numbers from new registrants ahead of next year's general elections.

The civic groups claimed that police officers in Matabeleland North province were being forced to surrender their voter registration slips to monitor voting patterns under the postal voting system for security officers.

"Uniformed forces' ballot papers are serialised, delivered to them on voting day in a personalised envelop with their name on it, in which there is a letter that bears their details and those on the ballot paper. They acknowledge getting the correct postal ballot by signing this document which is retained. This means they can check who you voted for afterwards by matching the ballot paper to the serial number afterwards," Southern Eye has heard.

The MDC-T, Zapu and People's Democratic Party (PDP) said they had also received reports that junior officers were being forced to surrender their voter registration slips to their seniors.

"We have come across such reports. We are very concerned about this illegal and intimidatory tactic that is being used by senior police officers to instil fear in the minds of their juniors. The MDC has raised these concerns with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission," MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

"In fact, throughout the country, people are being forced to surrender their voter registration slips to Zanu PF officials. We urge all registered voters to refuse to surrender their registration slips to anyone because no one has got the right to confiscate someone's voter registration slip."

Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said: "It's not only the uniformed forces being intimidated by Zanu PF in this manner, but the whole society, especially in rural areas … they are already rigging the anticipated election next year."

But Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday dismissed the reports as false.

"It's all hogwash. They have started creating excuses, knowing fully well they are facing defeat. We don't spend time on hogwash. We are not running the elections, but we are winning the elections and our advice to them is that they must join Zanu PF to learn how to win election," he said.

National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner, Charity Charamba, could not be reached for comment as her mobile phone went unanswered while her deputy, Chief Superintendent, Paul Nyathi said he was at church.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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