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`Security agents must leave Zec’

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 – DailyNews Live

Jeffrey Muvundusi      6 May 2017

BULAWAYO – The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (Crisis) has said it is
concerned with the continued involvement of State security agents in
matters involving the country&;s elections.

With opposition political parties and civic organisations having upped
their ante in calling for a level electoral playing field, Coalition
spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo told journalists here yesterday that the
electoral process would be a farce as long as there was clear-cut
interference from the ruling party and State security agents.

"The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) secretariat must be demilitarised
and every semblance of military or security/ intelligence presence in the
Zec secretariat must be flushed out as a matter of urgency in order to
instil confidence in the electoral body," Nkomo said.

"Some senior members of the security establishment continue to embed
themselves in partisan politics, openly siding with the ruling party. This
is a violation of the Constitution," he said.

Nkomo also challenged Zanu PF to stop using traditional leaders as
commissars as is the case in many rural areas where they are used to
mobilise people for ruling party meetings, in violation of section 281 of
the Constitution and the Traditional Leaders Act.

Nkomo further lamented the snail pace in implementing key institutional,
constitutional and electoral reforms.

"Our fear as a coalition which represents over 150 organisations is that
unless key reforms are delivered, the 2018 elections will become a mere
farce with the script being the same as that of the 2013 elections, with
the apparent possibility of the actor being the same, the plot being
distinctly familiar and the outcomes being a dej`a vu moment," he said.

While welcoming the introduction of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR)
system, Nkomo said if not implemented properly, the system "can be a
monumental disaster".

"Having said this, we welcome the introduction of the biometric voter
registration system with all its challenges. BVR can only work effectively
if it is accompanied by a broader swathe of institutional reforms. It is
our contention that barely 16 months before the election, there is no
clear election roadmap. At best, there is neither a road nor a map," Nkomo

This comes after Zec last month carried out field trials of BVR kits
provided by two companies, Laxton Group Limited from China and Dermalog
Identification Systems, a German firm.

The Crisis spokesperson said since BVR captures physical and behavioural
features such as fingerprints, the face, iris and signatures among others.

It can be used as a tool of intimidating people, especially in rural
areas, claiming their voting patterns are being monitored.

As a result, Nkomo said there was need for sufficient time in educating
and informing the voting public about BVR.
Original: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2017/05/06/security-agents-must-leave-zec

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