MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has vowed to do everything possible to stop the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) from manipulating the July 30 general elections in favour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Opposition political parties have been demanding a raft of electoral reforms that they argue will guarantee a free and fair election.
Part of the demands include that Zec must avail an electronic copy of the Biometric Voters’ Roll for audit, observing the printing of the ballot papers, adding them in terms of their chemical composition as well as monitoring their safe keeping and transportation to voting centres.
While Zec invited political parties last week to observe the printing of ballots, Chamisa’s election agent Jameson Timba yesterday said what happened at Fidelity Printers was far from what they were demanding.
“Zec is fooling not only the MDC Alliance but Zimbabweans in general, they are fooling the international community that there is commitment to ensure free and fair elections because what is obtaining has left us wondering who is in charge of elections, is Zec in charge and who is in charge of Zec? So we are saying we must stop (Zec chairperson Priscilla) Chigumba because we have said it is either Zec reforms or there is no election,” Timba said.
Suspicions of rigging were raised when exiled former Cabinet minister and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo sensationally claimed last month that he has unearthed an elaborate plot, where the ruling party had colluded with the Zec to rig the July 30 general elections using hired Chinese cyber experts.
“Government has seconded to Zec a team of Chinese BVR [biometric voter registration] & cyber experts from the People’s Liberation Army linked to a top Chinese university. Their remit is to manipulate the voters’ roll through shadowy & virtual polling stations and fake voters,” he said in a post on his Twitter handle.
Chigumba, however, strenuously denies the allegations insisting that the electoral body was as independent as it must be according to the law.
But Timba accused Chigumba of speaking with a forked tongue saying they have since noticed serious discrepancies in the voters’ roll.
“We are utterly dismayed by Zec’s continued attempts to manipulate the election in clear violation of the Constitution. Our preliminary findings on the voters’ roll … show discrepancies including that there are people who are 150 years old and registered as voters… Others share the same ID numbers but with different names on the same polling station. We have also demanded to observe the ballot printing process but that has not happened as parties were only allowed to look on from a balcony about 20 metres away and to us that was not observation as we were mere tourists visiting government printing facilities.
“We were not given access to the specimen ballot paper which we thought would be part of the observation. Now we do not know if the paper that we were shown as the one that will be used is actually being used or if there is any printing taking place at all. We were only invited after the process had already started three days before,” he claimed.