Electoral Violence: We don’t have investigative powers, report to the police says ZEC

Electoral Violence: We don't have investigative powers, report to the police says ZEC
Electoral Violence: We don't have investigative powers, report to the police says ZEC

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba advised political parties to report electoral violence to the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

Chigumba maintains that the police are mandated to investigate violations of the law.

Electoral watchdogs and opposition political parties are on record urging the electoral management body to deal with electoral violence.

The call to ZEC was made in order to guarantee a free and fair election and to restore the commissions credibility in the eyes of the electorate.

Speaking before the parliamentary committee on peace and security last week the electoral management body Chairperson dissuaded political parties from writing letters to the commission.

Chigumba insisted that the commission is seized with administrations of the elections.

“You find political parties saying they have written to ZEC about political violence, yes its lovely you have advised us, but we don’t have the mandate to investigate wants on the ground.

“You should open dockets for contravention of the electoral act at your nearest police station.

“If you write a letter to ZEC, it will take ten days for your letter to get to ZEC from Sanyati then we will simply take the letter send it to ZRP which reroutes your letter to your local police station in Sanyati.

“So, if there is an incident which happens during an election period we must learn as Zimbabweans that we have rights in terms of the electoral act and that the punitive measures in the electoral act are actually stiffer,” she said.

Cases reported to the police have not been solved.

Although Chigumba insists on political parties reporting to the police about violence, cases of violence perpetrated during electoral periods are yet to solved.

Last year, Bulawayo Metropolitain legislator Hon Jasmine Toffa was attacked as she was campaigning on behalf of a party member participating in a by election in October 2022.

Eight months before the incident, during the run up to the March 2022 by elections other members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) were attacked by suspected Zanu-PF supporters during a rally in Kwekwe which led to the death of one person leaving 17 others injured.

Toffa sustained injuries and was hospitalized reported the matter to the police but to date no perpetrator has not been apprehended.