Harare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has accredited 775 local and foreign observers for Saturday’s local authorities and National Assembly by-elections, it said on Friday.
It said of the 775 observers accredited as of 21 March, 721 were local while 37 were foreign diplomats from local embassies.
At least 17 local journalists were also accredited to cover the by-elections.
Saturday’s by-elections are the country’s first polls under Covid-19, to fill 28 parliamentary and 105 local government seats left vacant due to deaths, reshuffles and recalls of members of Parliament and councillors.
ZEC said it also had roped in health professionals to enhance the safety of voters and polling agents from Covid-19.
“The commission wishes to place it on record that indeed names of people visiting or deployed at the polling stations will be recorded.
“However, such recording will not be restricted to polling agents but to every person who visits the polling station for whatever reason,” said ZEC
It said recording of names would enable health professionals to do contact tracing for Covid-19 purposes.
“This is to enable contact tracing in the event of any detected cases of Covid-19 pandemic and the commission has enlisted the help of Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe and other qualified health personnel to assist in that endeavour.
“Further it is also important for the public to know that all polling officials, visitors, observers and polling agents are always recorded in the protocol register during polls and this has been the practice even prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, ” it said