ZEC fails to pay polling officers

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has failed to pay some polling officers hired for the recent senatorial election. A large number of officers, drawn mainly from teachers and junior civil servants, in Bulawayo and Matabeleland region were reportedly $1.7 million each, an amount almo

st equivalent to a senior teacher’s monthly net income. But many others, mainly in remote rural areas, were not paid. Some of the affected polling officers said they were instructed by ZEC to submit their bank accounts when they were hired but were surprised that the commission had failed to deposit their allowances by Monday, the day they were supposed to receive their dues for conducting the one-day poll. The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), Denis Sinyolo, said he had received disturbing reports that ZEC had failed to pay most of the teachers who were engaged as polling officers in the just-ended senate election. Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) acting secretary general, MacDonald Mangauzani, said his organisation had received similar reports with most of the unpaid teachers based in rural areas. “A large number of teachers are visiting our offices to make reports that they have not yet been paid. We are very worried about this issue and hope that it will be rectified within the shortest possible time,” said Mangauzani. Contacted for comment, ZEC spokesperson Utoile Silaigwana confirmed that some polling officers had not yet been paid their allowances. However, Silaigwana blamed the polling officers for allegedly providing incorrect bank account details to ZEC. The PTUZ acting secretary dismissed such allegations saying the government took advantage of teachers in rural areas who were being used as cheap labour. Mangauzani said PTUZ would in future discourage teachers from taking part in polls to avoid clashes between members of his association and ZEC over the payment of allowances. “The government has abused teachers and civil servants in general for too long and in future, we will discourage our members from participating in elections,” he said. – CAJ News

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