The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is making final preparations for the July 30 polls with a total of 5.69 million people registered to vote, its chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said Monday.

She told a news conference in Harare, the state capital that the electoral body had set up 10,985 polling stations throughout the country and was in the process of recruiting and training electoral officers.

The Commission will recruit about 130,000 officers from public institutions for polling, Chigumba said.

“To allow those on electoral duties to vote on polling day, the Commission has facilitated postal votes for some while others will be deployed in areas they were allocated polling stations when they registered as voters,” she said.

ZEC said last week that a total of 7,200 people had applied for postal voting.

The ZEC chairperson said the commission had accredited 830 election observers for the polls and of these 15 were foreign.

Some of the Western observers are observing the polls for the first time in 16 years after having been banned by former president Robert Mugabe’s government.

Mrs Chigumba dismissed social media reports alleging that it had set up a polling station in a cantonment area in Harare, in violation of the law.

She also clarified that the army will not be responsible for transportation of ballot papers as opposition political parties continue to raise concerns about the involvement of the army in the vote.

The army said last week it could provide ZEC with transport if necessary.

Mrs Chigumba said the ballots will be transported by Fidelity Printers, the state-owned firm that is printing presidential and National Assembly ballots.

Another government printer, Printflow, is printing ballots for local authority elections.

The opposition MDC Alliance has complained that it was not given access to observe the printing of the ballots and has called for demonstrations in Harare on Wednesday to protest against this and ZEC’s failure to provide it with a voters’ roll that contains pictures of voters.

Mrs Chigumba reiterated that ZEC will not release pictures of voters in order to protect their privacy.

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