June 11th, 2008 | Xinhua Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Recruits Polling Officers
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is recruiting more than 64,000 polling officers to monitor the June 27 presidential run-off and the three House of Assembly by-elections, a senior official has said.
ZEC deputy chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana was quoted by The Herald on Tuesday as saying that seven polling officers would man each of the polling stations.
He said ZEC would maintain the same number of polling stations as those used in the March 29 harmonized elections.
ZEC has published a list of 9,231 polling stations for the run-off and by-elections. The polling officers were being recruited from the Public Service Commission, local authorities and Health Services Commission, in terms of the Electoral Act.
Silaigwana said the training of constituency election officers commenced this week and these would in turn train ward election officers. “Preparations for the elections are on course as so far we have not encountered any major hiccups,” he said.
Meanwhile, 20 SADC election observers are now in the country for the run-off. More observers are expected in the country at the weekend while some were scheduled to arrive Tuesday night and Wednesday.
The regional bloc is expected to send between 300 and 400 election observers. The team members that have so far arrived are from Angola and South Africa as more observers from other countries are expected to trickle in.
Angolan Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Marcos Barrica is expected to lead the team.
The advance team, comprising technical staff, arrived in the country last weekend.
The advance team is led by Natangwe Elia Angula, who is senior strategic analyst in the SADC Secretariat for the Directorate of Politics, Defence and Security.
On Tuesday, ZEC urged political parties and Zimbabweans to respect the electoral laws by not engaging in violence. “We are encouraging political parties to ensure that their supporters are campaigning peacefully by respecting the electoral laws,” he said.
Zimbabweans go to polls this month to vote in a run-off pitting President Mugabe against MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The run-off will be run concurrently with by-elections in Pelandaba-Mpopoma, Gwanda South and Redcliff, which were postponed following the death of duly nominated MDC candidates in the constituencies before polling on March 29.