By Paul Nyathi|Anonymous sources within the ruling ZANU PF have revealed to ZimEye.com that the party is urging them to take part in an election rigging plan which will deny opposition members from taking part in the voting process at the national elections set for Monday.
The sources said that the party cell leaders around the country are going around urging party members to take advantage of the provisions of the Electoral Act and go out early and make deliberate mistakes on ballot papers and ask for replacement ballots so that ballot papers run run out before members of the opposition cast their votes.
The ZANU PF members who raised the issue as a query to ZimEye.com on whether it is legal to make a mistake and ask to be given another ballot paper to vote said that it is their first time to hear that there is such a provision within the laws.
“Our cell leader has been telling us to wake up very early and be the first ones at voting stations and make mistakes on ballot papers so that we finish the papers before the MDC members cast their votes,” said the source.
ZimEye.com investigations revealed that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission voter educators are also going around teaching voters that they can go to the polling stations and make mistakes on the ballot papers and will be given replacement ballots.
The Electoral Act provides that a voter who feels they have made a mistake on a ballot paper is entitled to another ballot paper at the discretion of the presiding officer. The Act also provides that no more than ten percent more ballots will be printed above the number of registered voters at a polling station.
Several incidents of ballot papers running out were reported at the 2013 elections that also saw a huge increase in the number of spoilt ballot papers.
Speaking at the Victoria Falls Press Club on Wednesday evening, Zec Commissioner Sibusiso Ndlovu also highlighted the teaching.
“If somebody feels that he or she has made a mistake, they will have to say it and no one will ask to see how and where the mistake was made. The person will be given another ballot paper. The presiding officer will issue an envelope, fold the ballot paper and place it in the envelope and indicate that it’s a cancelled ballot,” said Commissioner Ndlovu.
“You can even stop when you are about to deposit the ballot paper in the box and indicate that you made a mistake. However, what we will not allow is when one says he or she made a mistake when they have already dropped it (ballot paper) in the box,” she said.
She jokingly said those who will make a mistake more than once will be taken for counselling or examined for mental illness.