ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Wednesday 23 August 2023 asked Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to extend voting time at some polling stations in the country after polling was delayed at some centres.
In a letter written to ZEC by its lawyers Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Kelvin Kabaya, ZLHR advised the elections management body that it had noted that there had been delays in opening of some polling stations,
which hindered people from casting ballots at the stipulated time of 7:AM owing to the non-delivery of some local authority ballot papers.
ZLHR said the most notable polling stations at which voting was delayed as a result of non-delivery of ballot papers for local authorities in Harare and Chitungwiza include Gwinyiro Primary School, Maranatha Secondary School, polling stations in Glenview North and Glenview South, Seke 13 Primary School and Hellenic Primary.
The human rights organisation said in terms of section 53(1) of the Electoral Act, polling stations must generally be open from 7:AM to 7:PM. However, in terms of the proviso in section 53(1) of the Electoral Act, if there is good cause, the Constituency Election Officer can fix a later opening time provided that the polling station must be open for 12 continuous hours.
Chinopfukutwa and Kabaya requested for an undertaking from ZEC that in all polling stations in which opening of the polling stations and voting has been delayed, the voting time should be extended in order to ensure that those polling stations would be open for 12 continuous hours in accordance with the law.
The human rights lawyers appealed to ZEC to direct constituency election officers under whose constituencies voting has been delayed to take note of the provisions of the Electoral Act and adjust the voting times accordingly.