What you need to know about election observers

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The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has accredited 352 local and foreign observers ahead of the March 26 polls to fill in 28 parliamentary and over 120 local authority seats that fell vacant over the past two years.

Below is what is expected of observers according to the First Schedule to Electoral Act:

·         An observer should obey every lawful instruction of an electoral officer.

·         An observer should not hinder or obstruct an electoral officer in the lawful conduct of his or her functions.

·         No observer should wear any apparel sporting a prohibited symbol or apparel indicating any affiliation with a candidate or political party participating in the poll, nor in any other way canvass for any candidate or political party while observing the poll.

·         An observer should at all times within a polling station, constituency centre or ward or council centre wear a badge or label bearing proof that he or she has been duly accredited in terms of this Act.

·         An observer should not obstruct or accost any voter at a polling station or on his or her way thereto or therefrom, nor interview any voter at a polling station.

·         An observer should not do anything which compromises the secrecy of the ballot.

·         If an observer considers that there has been any irregularity in the conduct of the poll or the counting of the votes, they should bring such irregularity or apparent irregularity to the attention of the presiding officer or constituency elections officer at the polling station, constituency centre or ward or council centre concerned.

·         An observer should, generally, conduct himself or herself in a manner conducive to the peaceful, dignified and orderly conduct of the poll.

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