Man arrested for taking pictures


HARARE – A voter in Mashonaland East Province has been arrested for taking pictures of the voting process in breach of the country’s electoral laws.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau told reporters in Harare yesterday that police nabbed Marshall Berejena for recording the voting processes using a cell phone camera.

“This is a breach of our Electoral Act and authorities are handling the matter,” said Makarau.

“In Mbire district, it is reported there are wild animals in the area and officers are reluctant to move out in the vehicles for fear of getting stuck or exposing themselves to the animals,” Makarau said.  
Makarau, who was sworn a day before the constitutional vote, said planning and logistical challenges such as fuel and delay in transporting polling officers affected the smooth running of the referendum.

She said this had created problems in transmitting results from polling stations to district command centres. District command centres in turn should dispatch the result at the national command centre in Harare.

Makarau said despite all the challenges faced by the commission, results will be announced within five days of polling as stipulated by the law.

Meanwhile, a body of electoral commissions from southern African countries said Zec should improve on voter education to reduce the number of people turned away from polling stations for various reasons.

Head of the Electoral Commission Forum (ECF), Fako Likoti from Lesotho, said his organisation has observed that a number of people were denied opportunity to vote as they failed to meet set out criteria.

ECF is made up of electoral commissions in southern Africa and had 15 members observing the constitutional vote covering four provinces in the country.

Zimbabweans participated in the referendum on Saturday March 16 to decide whether to adopt a new constitution prepared by parliamentarians after a four-year battle between parties in the shaky coalition government. – Xolisani Ncube

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