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A week to go

Its now a week to go to the 2008 Zimbabwe general elections and the most notable thing over the last week or so has been the changes to the Electoral Act that governs the elections.

Notably policemen will now be able to enter the polling stations and help the frail and elderly and also it has been reported that the presidential votes will be counted centrally.

The so called Simba Makoni backers who were supposed to be revealed nearer to the polling date as the rumour went have so far not been revealed but I don't know whether it will make much of a difference anyway.

Morgan Tsvangirai has once again proved popular with his rallies well attended in both the rural and urban areas which should give him confidence.

On the other hand Robert Mugabe continues to campaign for re-election although he is still to host a major rally in Bulawayo where both his major rivals have already done so.

Langton Towungana seems like the least active candidate and I don't think he will have much of an impact unless he comes blazing over the next seven days.

Back to the latest changes, I don't understand why policemen should be allowed to help anybody vote. That is the role of the polling officers.

Polling officers should be able to help anybody who needs any sort of help or explanation and I don't know why police in particular have to be involved.

Maybe the Zimbabwe police get training in polling but even then its better to train the polling officers or employ more of them if thats what is needed.

Counting votes centrally doesn't seem to make sense to me either. If you count the other votes at the polling station why then lift the ballot box for the one of the elections to get them counted elsewhere and by whom.

This brings a lot of questions like who will accompany the ballot boxes all the way to the central area and also why go to such a cost when the country supposedly does not have the money.

Also what about some ballot papers that could have been put inside the presidential ballot box by mistake. How are these returned especially if they have come from a far away polling station? Will they be declared as spoilt? If you count at the polling station you just place the ballot paper in the correct pile and thats it.

These kind of changes make a complex election process even more complex and I think if they should be introduced it should be done at the start of the election so that everybody knows the rules upfront.

I hope there are no more changes in the last seven days before the election and I will try to follow the events closely through the Zimbabwe Situation website.

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