By Staff Reporter
JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Happyton Bonyongwe (pictured) says police have no business being involved in the country’s electoral administrative processes other than their primary role of ensuring security.
He was speaking in parliament Wednesday while responding to a question by Proportional Representation MP Fanny Chirisa.
Chirisa had asked the minister to furnish the house with a government policy position on the role of police during voter registration exercises and to clearly state whether there would be no conflict of interest if police were engaged in voter registration processes.
The MDC-T legislator also asked if police will try to confine their roles in the maintenance of law and order even during the 2018 elections.
“Mr. Speaker, the role of the police is to provide security to ZEC as well as to maintain law and order at the registration centres so that all citizens freely exercise their right to register as voters.
“It must be noted that no police officer is appointed as a registration officer nor are they operatives in the registration process.”
He added: “Section 10, of the Electoral Act gives ZEC guidelines as to who can be recruited as electoral officers and the Section expressly excludes Members of the disciplined forces from that category.
“…May I reiterate that the police officers have the sole function of maintaining law and order.”
Bonyongwe’s sentiments follow continued complaints by Zanu PF opponents police were being used to advance Zanu PF’s electoral ambitions.
In 2008, President Mugabe came under fire for allegedly going against the country’s electoral laws by allowing police escort voters to polling booths.
The Zimbabwean leader had used his controversial presidential powers to come up with the decree.
Outside actual polling, Zimbabwean police have infuriated Zanu PF opponents through the continued banning of opposition rallies.