Policemen cast their vote countrywide yesterday to kick start postal voting ahead of the presidential election which is scheduled for Friday, June 27.
They voted under the watchful eyes of their superiors amid reports that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has engaged war veterans and ruling party militiamen as polling officers for the June 27 presidential run-off.
Observers say the voting of policemen under the supervision of their superiors will give Robert Mugabe, who lost the original presidential election, unfair advantage.
In a clear case of vote-rigging, all police officers yesterday started voting in the presence of their superiors, who have publicly pledged their support for Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party.
Voting ends tomorrow and the rest of Zimbabwe votes in one day on Friday.
Officers say there was no secrecy during the voting process since our superiors were watching closely to ensure that one votes for Mugabe.
Reports say in Masvingo, police officers cast their votes in front of the officer commanding Masvingo province Assistant Commissioner Mekia Tanyanyiwa and another senior officer only identified as senior assistant commissioner Magejo from Police General Headquarters in Harare.
It also emerged yesterday that ZEC has recruited war veterans and ruling Zanu-PF militiamen as polling officers during the forth-coming poll.
Teachers and other civil servants who were polling officers during the March 29 harmonised polls have been largely dispensed with, under accusation that they played a significant role in Mugabe’s defeat by the MDC candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, during the first round.
War veterans and youth militia have unleashed a reign of terror in the rural districts of Zimbabwe to strengthen Mugabe’s prospects of victory, especially in former Zanu-PF strongholds that defected to the MDC in March.
ZEC spokesman Utloile Silaigwana yesterday confirmed the developments but denied that the electoral body wanted to rig the polls in favour of the 84-year old Mugabe.
He Silaigwana :”Police officers have started casting their votes today. There is nothing sinister about this, since all political players were appraised about these postal votes”.
On engaging war veterans and youth militias as polling officers Slaigwana said: ” As you are aware that some people who were engaged last time ended up in court for different offences it is ZEC’s feeling that such people should not be retained.
Mugabe will lock horns with Tsvangirai of the MDC for the second time in three months. Tsvangirai won the first election in March, but not by a clear enough majority to form the next government.