THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will not be able to run a free, fair and credible election, opposition parties contesting this year’s presidential election have said.
In a hard hitting statement Tuesday, the parties and candidates said of particular concern was the apparent proliferation at ZEC’s instigation of various “voters rolls” giving rise to fears of possible rigging.
Among those who signed the petition are President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s arch-challenger MDC Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa, former Vice President Joice Mujuru (People’s Rainbow Coalition), Coalition of Democrats (Elton Mangoma) Alliance for People’s Agenda (Nkosana Moyo), Build Zimbabwe and Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T.
The candidates argued that they have lost trust in ZEC’s capacity to run a proper poll.
“We the undersigned political parties and independent candidates contesting the 2018 presidential election 2018 have lost the trust that ZEC can carry out a free, fair and credible election.
“Having noted that ZEC has reneged on its commitment to transparency and credibility around the voters roll and the printing, storage and distribution of ballot papers,” the candidates said.
Too many voters’ roll versions
While ZEC says it has complied with the provisions of the law and made available to contestants the analysable version of the contentious biometric voters roll (BVR), the parties argue there are so many versions of the list flying around that it has become difficult to tell which one will be used in the election proper on July 30.
“ZEC has refused to avail the BVR voters roll as required by law,” the opposition parties said.
“It has so far distributed an incredible electronic voters’ roll with astonishing manipulations and irregularities that range from, same identity cards on different faces, same identity cards for different people, many people on addresses that don’t exist, too many people on one address, too old people that that can’t still be alive, candidates nominated but not appearing on voters roll.
“It is now clear that ZEC has more than one data base (version) for the voters’ roll No one can be sure what version will be used on voting day. One version had a duly nominated candidate missing. The candidate was given another version in which their name now appeared.”
Ballot paper printing
Amid demands for an audit of the roll of voters, the candidates added: “It is possible to release one version for the audit and another for the election day.
“If the irregularities are found during the election, it would be too late as can only proceed by way of court action when the damage has already been done.”
ZEC, the candidates argued has also rejected advise from the multi-party liaison committee that suggested that the ballot printing be stopped.
“Despite the multi-party liaison committee agreeing that the printing process should be stopped immediately so that it can be carried out in terms of the agreed transparent measures, ZEC has clearly continued with the printing process.
“ZEC is refusing to give any concrete guarantees on the storage and distribution process of the ballot paper which is a key component of the transparency required,” the statement added.
Given the foregoing the candidates then demanded to ensure fairness and credibility the process of printing ballots is stopped.
“This is the safest way of ensuring that there is no further tempering with the voters roll. The printing of the ballot must immediately stop and carried out afresh in a transparent manner.
“The design of the ballot cannot continue in secret, is important for our campaign and voter education (and) should show fairness based on uniformly applied principles founded on common sense,” said the parties.