The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) says the continued presence of police officers inside polling stations should be addressed together with other "gaps" that compromise the credibility of the country’s electoral processes.
In a statement after observing the Mudzi West by-election last week, ZESN said many people feel uncomfortable casting their ballots in the presence of police officers.
The organization expressed concern at the high number of assisted voters who turned up in Mudzi and urged the Zimbabwe Election Commission to allow civil society groups to engage the public in voter education.
“ZESN therefore, calls for a continuous rather than the current periodic voter education for by-elections being provided by ZEC and electoral stakeholders to ensure that all potential voters are reached,” said director Rindai Chipfunde Vava.
“In addition, ZEC should invest in more comprehensive voter education programs to improve voters understanding of key electoral requirements.”
Chipfunde Vava also called on contesting political parties to deploy polling agents whenever there is an election, observing that in the Mudzi poll, which was boycotted by the MDC, only Zanu PF was represented.