OPPOSITION parties have raised concern over reports that police officers in some parts of the country are being forced to surrender their voter registration slips to their seniors, a move they described as unconstitutional.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
However, Information minister and Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said the opposition was running scared ahead of the 2018 elections, saying they were concocting stories as they feared a massive electoral defeat.
Election watchdogs and human rights groups such as the Zimbabwe Peace Project have also documented cases where Zanu PF supporters are intimidating people to surrender their voter registration slips to record their serial numbers.
Voter registration slips with serial numbers are given out to voter registrants.
According to some reports, in Matabeleland North police officers are allegedly being forced to surrender their voter registration slips, raising alarm that this is another “rigging exercise” as the serial numbers can easily be traced to show whom they voted for under postal voting.
“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 that of the ballot paper,” a source said.
“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.”
The MDC-T, Zapu and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said they had also received reports that junior members of the uniformed forces 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 our concerns with ZEC,” Obert Gutu, the MDC-T spokesperson 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 added: “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.”
PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume also weighed in, threatening legal action against the police and Zanu PF.
Khaya-Moyo, however, accused the opposition of concocting excuses knowing they faced deafeat.
“It’s all hogwash. They have started creating excuses knowing fully well they are facing defeat,” he said.
“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 elections.”
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba was not answering her mobile phone, while Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said he was in church when contacted for comment.