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Controversy Continues Over Police Presence At Zimbabwe Polling Places

Despite statements to the contrary from other quarters, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission insisted on Thursday that police officers will remain at least 100 meters from polling stations on election day, March 29, dismissing reports that the country's Electoral Act has been amended by an executive order.

Commission spokesman Utloile Silaigwana said the Electoral Act stands as amended by parliament and that under the provisions of the act police officers will not be allowed into polling places and will be obliged to remain 100 meters away.

He was responding to reported statements by the deputy police commander of Victoria Falls, named Makhala, saying the law was amended by President Robert Mugabe.

The officer was said to have told a meeting of political parties Tuesday in Victoria Falls that police would be allowed into polling stations based on a presidential amendment to the Electoral Act. VOA reached Makhala but he declined to comment.

Victoria Falls municipal council candidate Paulos Chiliwede of the opposition formation headed by Morgan Tsvangirai told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that such statements will create confusion among voters and officials.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...