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Zimbabwe Civil Servants Cleared to Contest 2013 Polls

Striking civil servants in Harare
The Public Service Commission has issued new guidelines for civil servants who want to participate in this year’s elections and rejoin government employment if they lose or when they leave politics.

A circular was released last Thursday to all government departments on the issue with the commission emphasizing that civil servants should resign once their nomination papers are accepted, adding they are free to re-apply to the government if they fail or change their mind.

But civil servants who have resigned previously and gone into politics on opposition party tickets claim the public service commission has not entertained their efforts to rejoin the government.

They also complain that civil servants who have represented Zanu-PF in elections have been in and out of government employment without problems, especially those from the military.

Many civil servants including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s staffers - Ian Makone and James Maridadi - are going to contest on an MDC-T ticket.

Some top army and police officers and state secret agencies have been openly campaigning for Zanu-PF.

Cabinet on Wednesday discussed and adopted amendments to the country’s electoral laws to align them with the new constitution ahead of this year’s elections.

Some of the amendments include the creation of an electoral college, the reduction of election agents in polling stations and the number of nominators for parliamentary candidates from 10 to five.

Deputy spokesman Joel Gabhuza of the Morgan Tsvangirai Movement for Democratic Change said the proposals will now be presented to the House of Assembly and Senate.

At the same time, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on Wednesday urged political parties to campaign peacefully in the run-up to the general elections, adding her commission will closely monitor the media after the election date has been announced to ensure all political parties receive fair coverage.

Presenting a report to the parliamentary Defence and Home Affairs and Peace and Security Portfolio Committees, ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau said her commission is ready to conduct the oncoming harmonized elections.

Makarau said ZEC has not yet received funding from treasury and this has resulted in its failure to run the on-going 30-day mobile voter registration exercise as effectively as planned.

Legislator Reggie Moyo, a member of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs tells VOA that according to ZEC, 30 political parties have so far registered to participate in the election.
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