Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

ZEC defends recruiting CIO operatives – says it has “power to instruct”

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said there was nothing amiss in recruiting members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to preside over the accreditation of by-election observers.

With by-elections set to be held on the 26th of March, the electoral body has constantly been under-fire for alleged irregularities surrounding the voter’s roll and voter registration exercise.

ZEC has also been accused by the public of employing CIO operatives to preside over voter registration and accreditation of observers.

Addressing journalists on Friday, ZEC acting CEO Jane Pamhidzirai Chigidji said there was nothing wrong in recruiting members of the security sector citing that, at law, the commission had power to instruct on what to be done.

“The other is an allegation that the Commission is using CIOs for the accreditation of observers in the forthcoming by-elections,” she said.

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“It is further alleged that this conduct is unlawful presumably in terms of Section 239 of the Constitution. The commission wishes to advice its stakeholders to seek clarification on issues that they are not clear about to avoid publishing falsehoods which may mislead the electorate.

“The correct position of the law is that, Section 239j of the Constitution of Zimbabwe gives the commission broad power to instruct any person in the employment of the State or a local authority for purposes of ensuring the efficiency, free, fair, proper and transparent conduct of any election or referendum. So, in essence it would be unlawful if an employee of the State would engage in Commission’s duties without instructed by it.

“What is important is for the commission to remain in charge through giving instructions to any employee of the State and not for it to be instructed. The Constitution does not discriminate against any particular Ministry or department. All people who are recruited by the Commission work under its instructions and the Commission guards its independence jealously,” Chigidji said.

ZEC was accused a few days ago of illegally moving 170 000 voters from their original constituencies and wards in the voters roll to be used for the March 26 by-elections.

Activists, Team Pachedu, which has been analysing the voters roll for the by-elections in comparison with the one used in the 2018 polls alleged ZEC was illegally changing electoral boundaries without notifying voters. Nehanda Radio