HARARE – Polling agents must be well-versed with electoral laws, processes and procedures to enable them to advise or report on issues accurately, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) boss said on Tuesday.
Rita Makarau, the Zec chairperson aired these sentiments while opening a train-the-trainer workshop for polling agents in Harare Tuesday as the country hurtles for harmonised elections.
“It is risky to blindly make utterances or conduct yourselves in a way that may undermine the electoral process,” said Makarau.
The workshop covered electoral amendments in general and specifically those relating to the conduct of polling agents during elections.
“It is also important for you to familiarise yourself with the Code of Conduct (electoral) and to read and to follow it religiously like you follow the commandments of the Bible,” Makarau said.
“Most of the problems emanating in our country relating to elections are a result of blatant disregard of what is laid in our law by political parties and candidates. This is not desirable and does not augur well for a country which boasts of a highly literate electorate.”
Makarau urged the agents to acknowledge that, they were Zimbabweans first and that representing their principals was secondary.
“As political party agents, you have an onerous task to ensure that firstly you will through your conduct contribute to a peaceful, free and fair election; secondly to an orderly conduct of the poll; thirdly, to the acceptance of results by your parties and last but not least keeping your parties candidates correctly informed of the goings on at polling stations and collating centers,” Makarau said.
“As you may be aware, the President has proclaimed the 31st of July 2013 as the date for elections and we have just completed the nomination of candidates to contest in the forthcoming elections after the sitting of nomination courts on the 28th of June 2013.”