Claim: A message circulating online claimed that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is not going to allow untrained election agents inside polling stations.
CITE contacted ZEC chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana who dismissed the message as fake.
“We invite agents to come just as a courtesy for them to be part of our training, if they don’t come as long as their names are submitted, we don’t have any reason to turn them away. It’s a lie, they are trying to build a narrative of lies,” said Silaigwana.
“We are given the names of the agents beforehand and we give them badges for agents, whether they are trained or not, so I don’t know where that is coming from.”
Silaigwana said each candidate or party is allowed two agents at a polling station, “so we have no reason to turn them away.”
Meanwhile, Section 84 of the Electoral Act reads:
“For the avoidance of doubt it is declared that the failure by any person (other than an electoral officer) entitled in terms of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section fifty-five to be present on time (1a) at the counting and recording of the total number of ballot papers received at a polling station in terms of section 54A; or (a) at the sealing or opening of the ballot boxes in terms of subsection (4) of section fifty-four; or (b) at the sealing of the ballot boxes in terms of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section sixty-one or of the packets referred to in paragraph (b) of that subsection; or (c) at the counting of votes in terms of section sixty-two; shall not prevent the electoral officer concerned from proceeding in the absence of any such person.”
Roles and what is generally expected of election agents
Polling agents observe polls on behalf of contesting candidates.
They are authorised to attend at the counting or collating of votes at a polling station or constituency centre.