ABOUT 150 000 electoral officers will be deployed to the 12 370 polling stations that have been identified across the country for voting on August 23, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said.
Zimbabwe is bracing for the harmonised elections next Wednesday when citizens will elect the country’s next President, members of the House of Assembly and councillors in line with the Constitution.
ZEC deputy chairperson, Commissioner Rodney Kiwa, confirmed that 150 000 officers will be on duty on the voting day.
“The global figure for electoral officers is about 150 000. This figure is inclusive of presiding, polling and constituency election officers,” said Comm Kiwa.
Meanwhile, the Treasury has already approved payment of forex allowances to the electoral officers hired by the electoral body, who are mainly civil servants and are paid by the Salary Services Bureau (SSB). These include the constituency election officers, presiding officers as well as polling officers.
According to the recently released polling stations’ schedule, released by the ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utloile Silaigwana, Bulawayo metropolitan province, with 29 wards and 12 constituencies, will have 434 polling stations. Matabeleland North, which has 197 wards and 13 National Assembly seats has 918 polling stations while Matabeleland South, which lost one National Assembly seat following the 2022 delimitation exercise, has 709 polling stations spread across its 168 wards.
Section 51 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) states that a constituency elections officer shall establish, at such convenient places as he or she may determine, as many polling stations as he or she may consider to be necessary for the purposes of conveniently taking a poll of the voters of his or her constituency.
Provided that— (i) the constituency elections officer shall establish a sufficient number of polling stations in each ward of his or her constituency; (ii) the Commission shall receive from political parties contesting the election concerned any representations on the issue of the location of polling stations in any constituency, and may give directions on this matter to any constituency elections officer on the basis of such representations.
According to the Act, every polling station shall be located in a place that is readily accessible to the public, including persons with physical disabilities.
In Bulawayo, Cowdray Park constituency, with three wards, wards 6,15 and 28, has the highest number of polling stations, 43 in total while Emakhandeni-Luveve constituency has the lowest number at 30 from its two wards, 11 and 16.
Bulawayo South with wards 5 and 7, has 39 polling stations, the same as Bulawayo North while Bulawayo Central has 38 polling stations.
Entumbane-Njube constituency, which encompasses wards 10 and 12 has 33 polling stations, Lobengula-Magwegwe with wards 12,14 and 29, has 37 polling stations, Mpopoma-Mzilikazi with wards 8 and 9, has 35.
Nketha with wards 24,25 and 26, has 36 polling stations, the same as Nkulumane that covers wards, 22 and 23. Pelandaba-Tshabalala with wards 13,20 and 21, has 32 polling stations while Pumula, which has wards 17, 19 and 27, ha 38 polling stations.
In Matabeleland North province, Tsholotsho North has 83 polling stations, Binga North and Binga South have 66 and 73 polling stations each, Bubi has 77, Hwange Central 46, Hwange East 81 and Hwange West 61. Lupane East and Lupane West have 69 and 92 polling stations respectively, Nkayi North 60 and Nkayi South 59.
Tsholotsho South and Umguza have 82 and 79 polling stations respectively and in Matabeleland South, the constituency with the largest number of polling stations is Bulilima with 76, Beitbridge West has got 52 polling stations, Gwanda North has 61 and Gwanda South 52. Gwanda-Tshitaudze has 56, Insiza North and Insiza South have 55 and 57 polling stations respectively, Mangwe has 72, Matobo and Matobo-Mangwe constituencies have 57 and 55 respectively while Umzingwane has 65 polling stations.