Zimbabwe election body dismisses social media reports alleging fraud in postal voting

Zimbabwe opposition marches on electoral agency to demand reforms

Zimbabwe opposition marches on electoral agency to demand reforms

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) head Priscilla Chigumba said it had processed 7,600 applications for postal votes from police and defence personnel who will be on duty on election day and diplomats working overseas.

Among others, the MDC Alliance is demanding the urgent release of a complete biometric voters' roll in searchable and analyzable form with requisite biometric features, an independent audit of the voters' roll and the immediate cessation of the printing of the ballot paper pending agreement on observation by stakeholders. The electoral commission says these demands go over and above the law and that very few countries in the world allow parties to be involved at this level.

Mnangagwa, who took over from former president Robert Mugabe in November past year, has promised to hold free and fair elections.

This is the second mass demonstration held against the electoral commission in the space of a month.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said police had been monitored by their superiors as they filled out voting papers at a police camp outside the city of Bulawayo and elsewhere.

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"This is the last demonstration that we are going back home". New President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a longtime Mugabe ally, has vowed to hold a free and fair election and invited Western election observers for the first time in almost two decades as he seeks to get worldwide sanctions lifted.

The chaotic scenes circulating on social media have alarmed some in a country whose new president has pledged to break with the past of elections marked by allegations of fraud and violence. "We are exhausted of ZANU-PF machinations", said Rebecca Amon, 39, a housewife and mother of two.

Supporters flashed red cards - used by football referees to expel players from the field - and blew whistles as Chamisa handed a petition to electoral commission officials in downtown Harare.

The opposition leader, who is Mnangagwa's main challenger, has indicated that his party will not boycott the election.

Thirty-year-old unemployed security guard Cosmas Chaparadza, said that "we want electoral reforms for a free and fair election". Mugabe banned Western election observers but Mnangagwa has welcomed them for the first time in nearly two decades.

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