MDC says special vote poses no threat


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The Movement for Democratic Change has called on members of the uniformed services and all special voters to exercise their vote freely saying they are protected by the constitution from any intimidation.

Special voters are going to the polls next Sunday and Monday, 14 and 15 July, two weeks before the rest of the voters exercise their right.

The MDC has complained that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front manipulates the special voters and said their numbers had been inflated to give ZANU-PF an edge over the MDC.

Ina statement at the weekend, the party, however said: “As members of the disciplined services, officials and their spouses, election officers or monitors and those in the service of Government of Zimbabwe who are working outside their constituencies due to work commitment, prepare for the special vote on 14 and 15 July 2013, they must do so with the full knowledge that the law is on their side.

“The time for a new Zimbabwe is now, no wonder they have been allowed to vote at a polling station outside barracks and police stations. The Zimbabwean law provides for special voting or early voting where voters [such as election officials, government workers or security personnel] who are unable to attend their designated polling stations on the day of elections to cast their ballots on a designated day before the election day.”

The party urged members of the security forces and elections officials to appreciate that while voting is every citizen’s right, section 81 of the electoral act further provided sufficient protection against potential cohesion and flagrant abuse of their rights.

It said, section 81 of the electoral law provides that “Every officer, candidate and election or polling agent in attendance at a polling station shall maintain, and aid in maintaining, the secrecy of voting at that station and shall not communicate to any person any information likely to defeat the secrecy of the voting, except for some purpose authorised by law”.

The same section specified that “any person who attempts to induce any other person to obtain a postal ballot paper with the intention of influencing him or her by bribery or intimidation to record his vote in favour of a particular candidate shall be guilty of an offence” liable to paying a fine or imprisonment.

The MDC said the Electoral Act also protected citizens and members of the disciplined forces against interference or any “attempt to interfere with a voter when making his vote or otherwise attempt to obtain in the polling station information as to the candidate for whom the voter is about to vote for or has voted for”.

“We therefore urge members of the Security sector to remain calm and assured that their rights cannot be violated even though they must raise an alert should they suspect that their rights are being undermined. As such, no amount of ZANU-PF machinations to manipulate the vote through this noble facility will change the people’s ultimate voice and choice.”

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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