The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has said that it has redesigned polling booths to ensure that voters do not take pictures of the ballot papers in order to post them on social media. Zec said the voters will be in full view of officials, a move which has been condemned by opposition parties. The opposition contends that the move is meant to intimidate voters, as their votes will not be made in total secrecy.
Acting Zec chief elections officer, Utoile Silaigwana told NewsDay,
The booths remain the same. We have not designed any transparent polling booths… The secrecy of the voter is still guaranteed, but we have made sure that whoever goes into the polling booth and makes a mark does so in view of officials to avoid people abusing this to take pictures of how they have marked a ballot to put them on social media. I must emphasise that whoever is marking a ballot does so in secret.
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However, Douglas Mwonzora, secretary-general of the Nelson Chamisa MDC-T said,
This is extremely illegal because, in terms of the Constitution, voting must be in secret. The moment someone watches over how you are marking the ballot, it becomes a violation of the law and we are going to take Zec to court over this.
Thokozani Khupe’s vice-president Obert Gutu said,
Given the history of intimidation in our elections, especially under (former president Robert) Mugabe, particularly in rural areas, the exposure of people to snooping from electoral officials will increase fear in villages across the country.