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Zim heading for sham polls, MDC warns

THE MDC Alliance has warned the country was heading towards a sham election after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) allowed President Emmerson Mnangagwa to proclaim election dates before production of a final voters’ roll.

By Staff reporter

Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube said Zec was supposed to release a final voters’ roll before the nomination court sits to ensure that those who nominate candidates were on the roll.

Ncube who doubles as MDC leader said the alliance would continue piling pressure for levelling of the political playing field including taking legal action if their engagement efforts failed to bear fruit.

Zec has dismissed the MDC Alliance’s demands for access to the voters’ roll, saying all political parties will have free access to it once it was complete, urging the political parties to access the provisional voters’ roll on the commission’s website.

But Ncube said the commission was supposed to advise Mnangagwa to proclaim the election date after it had finalised the roll to allow parties to audit and propose changes on time.

He said according to the electoral laws, the voters’ roll cannot be challenged 30 days before an election.

“We have about two weeks now to the end of June to analyse the voters’ roll and challenge it if there is need.

There are over five million people who have registered to vote and how can we audit such a number in two days?” Ncube asked.

“The nomination court is sitting on Thursday and we don’t have a voters’ roll. What will people do if the people who nominate them are not in the voters roll?”

Ncube said they will fight Zec until the electoral amendments proposed by the opposition parties were implemented.

He said already, there was every indication that the country was rushing towards a disputed poll.

“We had until August 22 to run the elections, what was the rush when the voters roll is not complete?”

In its long statement released at the weekend, Zec said some of the items contained in an MDC Alliance petition on electoral reforms were misdirected as they cannot be legally dealt with by the commission and demanded for patience as it was at the tail end of finalising the voters’ roll.

The MDC Alliance had demanded an electronic copy of the provisional voters’ roll, an independent external audit of the voters’ roll, retirement of alleged security personnel within Zec, access to biometric voter registration servers, removal of alleged military presence in rural areas and queried the establishment of additional polling stations.

They also demanded that Zec enables those in the Diaspora to vote, disbanding of the accreditation committee, inclusion in procurement and movement of the ballot papers among other issues.

The MDC Alliance petitioned Zec last week and at the weekend, alliance leader Nelson Chamisa threatened to shut down the whole country if the reforms were not implimented.

Zec, in its response, claimed it had no military personnel, despite its chairperson Priscilla Chigumba in February admitting 15% of Zec staff was from the military.

The commission also ruled out Diaspora vote, contrary to Mnangagwa’s pledge while he was in Davos, Switzerland, that Diasporans will be allowed to vote.

Zec commissioner Joyce Kazembe, while addressing delegates at an elections workshop in Kariba last month, said the commission held the keys to the proclamation date as Mnangagwa will only do so after it advises him it was through with compiling the voters’ roll.

Mnangagwa has repeatedly promised the international community his administration will hold a free and fair poll as he battles to get legitimacy after using the military to take over power from his former boss Robert Mugabe last November.

Source :

Newsday

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