A former Cabinet minister who was at the centre of Zanu PF’s power-retention strategies between 2000 and November 2017 has sensationally claimed that the ruling party has devised an elaborate plan to rig next month’s elections.
Zanu PF reacted angrily to the allegations yesterday, dismissing them as “hogwash”.
Jonathan Moyo, a former politburo member who is currently in self-imposed exile in Kenya, claimed yesterday through micro-blogging platform, Twitter, that he was ready to testify under oath how Zanu PF and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) were plotting to subvert the people’s will on July 30.
He alleged that Zanu PF, which is seeking to extend its rule beyond 38 years, has been given hard copies of the voters’ roll, despite claims by the electoral management body that they were still cleaning up the register following the recent conclusion of the biometric voter registration (BVR).
“Some 11 days after BVR closed for 2018 poll and a day before sitting of Nomination Court, #Zec continues to deny the opposition access to the (voters’) roll, yet it has given #Zanu PF hard copies. #Zec has always done this and I can confirm it under oath,” he said.
Moyo skipped the country around mid-November last year in the wake of a soft coup that ended former president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year long reign.
He is now wanted in Zimbabwe in connection with allegations of abuse of office after he allegedly siphoned substantial amounts of money from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund, which he superintended over as then minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.
The authorities have since appealed to the International Police to help bring him to justice.
Yesterday, the former Information minister claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has roped in the Chinese — long considered to be the country’s all-weather friends — to manipulate the voters’ roll.
“Chinese team seeks to manipulate the BVR system and create virtual polling stations to guarantee victory for Mnangagwa, whose appeasement strategy of disinformation would be used by United Kingdom government to justify declaring the poll free, fair and credible!
“Government has seconded to #Zec a team of Chinese BVR and cyber experts from the People’s Liberation Army linked to a top Chinese university. Their remit is to manipulate the voters’ roll through shadowy and virtual polling stations and fake voters,” Moyo said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, said there was no way the ruling party would work with an independent commission to steal the elections.
Khaya Moyo also denied the involvement of Chinese nationals in the running of the polls set for July 30.
He said: “We don’t need Zec to win elections. It is all hogwash, a tired story. They are whistling in the graveyard hoping that the dead will hear them but, well, that is sad.”
The allegations come as the opposition is pressing for electoral reforms, chief among them being that Zec must release a copy of the provisional voters’ roll.
Recently, opposition parties raised concern after Zec increased the number of polling stations by 1 137 polling centres.
Last week, the MDC Alliance piled up pressure on Zec by lodging a petition, which came hard on the heels of a court application by Tendai Biti of the People’s Democratic Party, demanding access to the voters’ roll.
The courts are still to make a ruling on the application.
The electoral commission has been adamant that it was premature to avail the crucial document, adding that the additional voting stations were designed to ensure that polling stations with an excess number of voters have sub-polling stations.
Zec also denied the opposition access to the BVR server, saying it was a security issue.
“The issue of access to the server is controlled in the same way as is the case with all institutions that keep custody of information of a security or confidential nature. We also encourage stakeholders not to mystify the issue of additional polling stations as we have allowed the creation of sub-polling stations for a polling area where the threshold of voters exceeds its set limit,” Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba, said in a statement released over the weekend.
However, Moyo sensationally claimed yesterday that the ruling party had access to the hard copy of the voters’ roll in the 2013 polls controversially won by Zanu PF, and that they worked with the military and intelligence elements in Zec to deliver the poll to Mugabe.
He said this time the rigging will be on an “industrial scale” and will be centred on manipulation of the BVR voters polling stations by “Zec technical staff from security organs and also the army intimidation of voters in villages”.
“While section 235 of the Constitution says #Zec should ‘protect the sovereignty of the people’ and section 233 says it should ‘promote transparency and accountability’, proof government runs #Zec is the failure by Zec to bring to order (Zanu PF political commissar Engelbert) Rugeje, minister of State for Masvingo province Josiah) Hungwe and (deputy Finance minister Terrence) Mukupe!”
The named Zanu PF trio have both been quoted saying the army will not allow an opposition victory.
“In the first 20 years of the old order, when Mnangagwa was the chief enforcer, government ran elections through the Registrar-General under an ad hoc election directorate and Electoral Supervisory Commission that had election monitors as observers!
“Mnangagwa has crafted an appeasement strategy that targets the business and international communities based on a disinformation scheme, learnt from British intelligence in his CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) days, whose design is to say right things and do the opposite.
“On the back of the November coup, and the fact that Zimbabwe is under military rule, it’s unreasonable to expect a government run #Zec to run free, fair and credible elections. With securocrats managing its technical operations, Zec is a rigging tool.
“Zec run by government to run elections is not set up in terms of the Constitution. Most of its fulltime staff are former or current army, CIO and ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police). All technical staff is 100 percent from security organs and all polling officers are civil servants,” said Moyo.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, who is also a scholar and researcher, said even though Zec denies a connection between it and the army, history was replete with examples of such associations.