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Victoria Falls by-election polling officers unpaid

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A BATTLE is looming between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and polling officers who presided over the Victoria Falls Ward 9 by-election in October 2013 after the electoral body failed to pay them more than $75 000 in allowances eight months after the poll.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR REPORTER

The by-election was held in October. The elections for the seat in July 31 were postponed after the death of MDC-T candidate Nkululeko Nyoni a day before the poll date.

ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said she was not aware of the issue.

“I am not quite aware of that.

“You said Ward 9 in Victoria Falls. I wouldn’t be aware of such small matters. I will check with our CEO (Lovemore) Sekeramayi to get full details,” Justice Makarau said.

However, affected officials who spoke to Southern Eye said ZEC had reneged on paying them their allowances covering a period of 28 days spent in the resort town to conduct the election.

“We stayed there for 28 days using our own resources as no money was despatched by the commission.

“We had to cater for ourselves in every aspect,” an official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“We were about 48 of us, but none of us was paid. We approached the commission demanding our money, but they are not forthcoming.

“What’s angering us is that we were made to bankroll the election and now they are refusing with our money.”

Another official said what angered them the most was that it was now more than eight months after the poll, but ZEC had remained mum on their allowances.

“They told us that our allowances were lumped together with the harmonised elections debts.

“However, what irks us was that polling officers who conducted other by-elections after us were paid their allowances,” the officer said.

“We heard it’s only us and polling officers who conducted a by-election in Gokwe who still haven’t been paid.

“Those who conducted by-elections this year have been paid. It’s unfair and we are now suspecting that there is discrimination based on regions.”

The Victoria Falls Ward 9 by-election was won by Sovelo Dhlamini of MDC-T with 238 votes. Sambulo Mpofu of Zanu PF got 207 and Zapu’s White Julius Willard Phiri managed only five.

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