THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday met political party leaders or representatives and gave them samples of ballot papers to be used in the July 30 harmonised elections for them to test.
The meeting, dubbed the National Multiparty Liaison Committee meeting, and is convened by Zec to hear concerns from political formations, also heard issues raised by parties.
It also emerged at the meeting that the major parties, Zanu-PF and the MDC Alliance, had narrowed their differences in the run up to the election and pledged to work together to resolve conflicts under the aegis of the MPLC.
“Zec Commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo chaired the National Multiparty Liaison Committee meeting at which political parties demanded to be allowed to see where the ballot paper is being kept. They were given samples of the printed ballot paper to ascertain quality and design,” Zec said in a brief statement on its Twitter account @ZECzim.
Zanu-PF legal affairs secretary Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana outlined a number of areas that the parties had discussed.
Said Cde Mangwana: “Today Zanu-PF participated in the Multiparty Liaison Committee Meetings (MPLC) conducted by Zec A number of parties were represented including the MDC-Alliance, which had Mr (Jameson) Timba and Mr (Douglas) Mwonzora as the representatives.”
He confirmed the parties had been given ballot papers to test.
“Zec gave specimens of the actual ballot papers to parties so those who want to test for magic or unexplained vote mutations or migrations can do so. It was noted that they had been given the blank ballots in the past for further testing,” said Cde Mangwana.
“There was no objection to the configuration of the ballot itself but it was also noted that a party not taking part in the elections, called PDP (People’s Democratic Party), had made a court application challenging the current candidate configuration in the Presidential Elections ballot paper design.
“Zanu-PF expressed its recognition of Zec’s responsibility to print, store and distribute the ballots and leaves it to Zec to decide if it would allow the request of a few other parties to escort the distribution cars as well as to guard the provincial warehouses where the ballots are kept,” said Cde Mangwana.
MDC Alliance’s Mr Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that parties were given samples of ballots and agreed on a range of issues.
He told our Harare Bureau last night that the party would subject the papers to tests.
“We are still to vet the ballot papers. The MDC-Alliance also insisted on the ballot papers to be checked batch by batch and all political parties’ stakeholders to monitor their storage until election day,” said Mr Mwonzora.
“They also insisted that all political parties’ stakeholders should accompany the ballot papers to polling stations on elections day,” he said.
According to information from the meeting, some parties requested to test samples of ballots on election day by marking them and see at the end of the election where such guinea ballots would have migrated votes and the commission promised to deliberate and come back to the parties.
Zec did not object to providing parties with samples of indelible ink as requested by some parties.
Zanu-PF registered its objection to the aggressive language used by other parties in threatening to halt a proclaimed election through unconstitutional means.
This is in reference to threats by the opposition MDC Alliance which has said it will disrupt elections if some of its demands are not met.
Political parties also agreed not to distribute food in a partisan manner.
The next meeting of MPLC will be on Tuesday next week.