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Zimbabwe's Election Drama Deepens After Arrest of Observers

Over 41 local observers from ZESN & ERC were arrested for carrying out parallel voter tabulation

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Zimbabwe's Election Drama Deepens After Arrest of Observers

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has explained why it arrested 41 employees from ZESN, ERC, and Team Pachedu and raided their offices on election day.

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As some people voted at night on 23 August 2023, the ZRP stormed the offices of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Election Resource Centre (ERC), and Team Pachedu at 9 PM, arresting 41 people in the process, after a tip-off.

The offices are located in Belgravia, Milton Park, and The Grange while other arrests were made at Holiday Inn Hotel in Harare.

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During the night raid on election day, police confiscated 93 cell phones, 38 laptops, two smartwatches, two modems, a WIFI router, an external hard drive, a small Nokia phone (kambudzi) a printer, and other phone and laptop accessories.

Zimbabwe's Election Drama Deepens After Arrest of Observers

In trying to explain the arrests, the ZRP issued a statement:

The equipment was being unlawfully used to tabulate election voting statistics and results from polling stations throughout the country.

These figures were being supplied by some observers and political party agents.

The coordinators of the information were stationed at Holiday Inn, Harare, and were in the process of feeding information to a location in The Grange, Harare, where the Presidential Election results were to be announced using the VPN System through Apollo concept.

The results were to be announced on 24th of August 2023 as promised by Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa.

However, the arrests have been described as illegal after it emerged that ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba had stated that accredited observers were allowed to carry out parallel voter tabulation.

The 41 suspects were released on $200 bail after prosecution did not oppose their bail. They have been remanded out of custody to 28th September 2023.


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