Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mugabe orders police back into polling stations

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has amended electoral laws to allow policemen into polling stations later this month to "assist"illiterate people to vote, state radio said on Tuesday.

The amendment, which was published as a presidential proclamation on Monday,comes less than two weeks ahead of make-or-break polls on March 29. The amendment appears to back track on changes agreed at recently during South African-brokered talks that restricted police from doubling up as election officers.

Under the electoral laws, police were not to be allowed within 100 metres of a polling station to avoid intimidating voters. "Section 59 of the act has also been amended and will allow two electoral officers and a police officer on duty to assist semi- literate voters," the radio quoted part of the presidential proclamation as saying.

Voters who are "physically incapacitated" will also be assisted to vote by two electoral officials and a policeman, the report said. The radio did not say why the laws had been changed.

Source: SAPA

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