'Zec to deal with security sector'

HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau has told Parliament that they will be dealing with the marked interest of security sector officials in politics and elections.

Giving oral evidence before a joint parliamentary  committee on Peace and Security and another on Defence and Home Affairs, Makarau said they had received a complaint about threats posed by the security sector to the forthcoming poll.

Makarau spoke after Paul Madzore, co-chairperson of the Defence and Home Affairs committee asked whether Zec had any message to the security sector given that it was issuing statements meant to intimidate the public concerning elections.

“The question of the security sector has been posted to us by a certain party and Zec shall deal with the matter and respond to the party in writing,” Makarau told the lawmakers.

“ Our answer will now be known publicly and so I cannot discuss the answer in this meeting.”

She did not state which party had written to the committee.

Service chiefs have said they are not prepared to salute a president without liberation war credentials even though they are to be popularly elected at the forthcoming poll.

Prosper Mutseyami, MDC MP for Musikavanhu Constituency, asked  Makarau to inform the committee whether Zec was ready to supervise and conduct the harmonised elections.

Makarau said Zec had considered all the scenarios possible for the holding of elections and was making thorough preparations in spite of the limiting budget it had received from Treasury.

“We made a request of $150 million to hold the harmonised elections and we were given only $25 million,” Makarau said.  

“This is the money we are using to prepare for the elections, carrying out voter education and registration. We have considered the worst scenario and the best scenario and we can say that we are ready to hold the election when the dates are proclaimed with specified legal requirements.”

She also said Zec had  concluded that the political environment was relatively peaceful to hold a free and fair  elections. She said four teams carrying out voter registration and education had been deployed at every district to enable people to be registered and check if their names are on the voters roll and that they had received reports that the programme — which started on Monday — was going on smoothly.

Makarau, with her deputy Joyce Kazembe were taking turns to answer questions from legislators on the elections.

Makarau said 30 political parties had indicated to Zec that they wanted to participate in the harmonised elections.

Senator Kokerai Rugara also complained of “hate language” being churned out by the state broadcaster, saying the debates were one sided, branding it “propaganda.”

The  Senate chambers were fully packed with legislators and members of the public and civic society actors.

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