Cops vote under watchfull eye of commissioners

Grabbed farms serve as re-education camps
... as cops arrest those who report political violence

MASVINGO - Robert Mugabe's militant war veterans have set up "re-education camps" on several farms grabbed from white farmers here, where Zanu (PF) youths are being trained in military tactics to hunt down MDC supporters.
Youths are being forcibly recruited in the province and sent to terrorise MDC supporters and the few remaining white farmers ahead of Friday's run-off ele

Members of the security forces told The Zimbabwean privately that they were being instructed to vote for Robert Mugabe and defiant officers were being threatened with disciplinary action, dismissal or both for defying orders of a superior.-

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) spokesman Utloile Silaigwana confirmed that police officers started casting their ballots through the postal system Tuesday and said there was nothing sinister about the process since all political players were fully aware of the postal system.

However, a spokesman for the MDC said the party was urgently seeking information from the electoral authorities about allegations of postal ballot rigging in the security forces. The party has also instructed its team of lawyers to urgently challenge the postal balloting in the High Court, according to MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

There is gigantic rape of that part of the electorate, Chamisa said. We have instructed our lawyers to challenge the process in the High Court. We want to know the number of people who are using this system. The information we have confirms that there is huge electoral fraud.

Interim Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who is also a member of Zanu (PF)’s presidential election media committee, dismissed the charge as gibberish and said Zanu (PF) has never stolen an election.

The officers are casting their ballots at provincial headquarters dotted across the country in the presence of two senior assistant police commissioners. There are no observers witnessing the balloting.

Chinamasa has denied accreditation to a large pool of local observers ostensibly because they were biased.

We are busy casting our votes in the presence of our superiors and there are no observers, said a policeman in Masvingo Province, who wished to remain anonymous. We started voting on Tuesday here in the presence of officer commanding Masvingo province Assistant Commissioner Mekia Tanyanyiwa and senior assistant commissioner Magejo from PGHQ. I had no choice but to vote for President Mugabe but it was against my conscience. After casting my ballot, the ass comm (assistant commissioner) said to me Thank you for serving the nation officer’.

Police officers were presented with envelopes with their names on and the serial number of the ballot paper inside to make it easier to find out how they had voted, said another policeman in Mutare.

Zimbabwe has 35,000-50,000 police officers in an electorate of about 5,9 million registered voters.

Police officers from the southern city of Bulawayo, say their ballot papers were also checked by their commanding officer. Most of the officers were said to have complied for fear of losing their job.

But one police officer, Paradzai Tinogorei, serving at Ross Camp, was said to have disappeared soon after defiantly voting for MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai. His whereabouts remain unknown.

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