OPPOSITION MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has claimed that thousands of registered voters sympathetic to him, among them over 40 000 teachers seconded to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as polling officers, were disenfranchised and systematically denied their voting right while 21 polling stations went “missing” on polling day, two weeks ago.
In his petition filed at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Friday, challenging President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory, Chamisa accused Zec of deliberately deploying teachers and other civil servants to polling stations far from areas they were registered to vote.
“I have established that some 40 000 teachers did not vote. A lot more other civil servants who were involved in the elections were similarly disenfranchised,” he submitted in his papers.
Chamisa said this was done despite the fact that there are clear legal provisions for civil servants on government business to exercise their right to vote and alleged this could have been a plan to steal his votes.
“There is no doubt that the attempt to disenfranchise them was meant to affect the opposition vote, otherwise they would have been allowed to vote. In this regard, I make reference to the affidavit filed herewith showing the actual numbers of State employees who were disenfranchised. I once again make the point that the numbers involved materially affect the outcome of the election,” Chamisa said.
The 40-year-old presidential contestant raised concern over how polling stations advertised by Zec just “disappeared” on election day, leaving several registered voters stranded.
“On voting day, 21 polling stations went missing. No explanation for this exists. Further, some polling stations were created in Hurungwe… these two were not part of the list of polling stations received from Zec,” Chamisa submitted.
Given that the maximum number of voters per polling station was 1 000, a total of 21 000 voters could have been denied their right to vote.
In Hurungwe, where the two polling stations were allegedly created, Mnangagwa garnered 5 396 votes while Chamisa got nothing.
“It is interesting to note that a total of 5 396 votes is said to have been garnered by first respondent (Mnangagwa) at the ghost polling station. The figures for the ghost polling station do not compare well with those he garnered at other polling stations. There is clear evidence with respect of manipulation,” he said.
He also raised a red flag over the huge number of assisted voters, citing Masvingo which had a record 65% of polling stations having assisted voters.
“A disconcerting aspect of this election is the number of assisted voters. At 46% of polling stations nationwide, more than 26 people were assisted to vote. In Masvingo at about 65% of polling stations 26 or more people were assisted to vote,” he said.
In these areas, Mnangagwa and Zanu PF won by wide margins against the opposition.
Chamisa accuses Zec of malpractices after the announcement of the results, saying they have been harassing polling officers and moving election residue in a bid to cover up their mistakes.
“Even after the declaration of the result, Zec has involved itself in malpractices which are meant to correct the glaring anomalies that I have referred to above. Polling agents are being forced to change V11 forms,” he said.
Chamisa has since presented before the court affidavits by some of the polling agents allegedly harassed by Zec to change V11 forms after the results were announced. He further alleged that his technical team had been harassed and that affected their preparation for the court challenge.
“My technical team is being harassed amidst so many threats of arrests over trumped-up charges. The environment has been heavily militarised and shows an administration which is afraid,” he said.
Chamisa challenged Mnangagwa to maintain composure if he was confident that he won the election.
“The question to ask is, why should first respondent behave in such a desperate manner if he won the election?” he submitted.
Chamisa presented evidence of votes being counted twice in some polling stations, resulting in Mnangagwa getting 7 703 more votes than was due to him.
“There is also evidence showing that Zec collated results at some polling stations twice, that is to say polling stations were counted twice. I refer the court to annexure L.
This created an increase of 9 035 votes. Of those, first respondent was as is the case where all irregularities are apparent the beneficiary. The mathematics shows that he got 7 703, the 7 703 votes do not exist and must be subtracted from his total,” he submitted.