THE MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa last week staged a demonstration in Harare. It then proceeded to the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). In the two related events, the alliance of seven fringe political parties claimed it was exerting pressure on ZEC to institute electoral reforms to level the playing field ahead of the July 30 elections.
The demanded reforms range from the reasonable to the ridiculous if the response by ZEC is considered in legal terms.
It should not be lost on the electorate that the MDC Alliance is choking at the top with a galaxy of lawyers, but sometimes makes demands of ZEC which border on the childish.
One of the demands is that ZEC should open to the public servers for data collected during the biometric voter registration process.
This is data of a very sensitive security nature which it would be irresponsible of any institution to broadcast for purposes of quenching the appetite of political no-hopers who for years have lobbied for economic sanctions against their own motherland.
Nothing can stop them from tampering with the data just so the harmonised elections can be discredited. Defeat stares them in the face and they must find every fig leaf in the tree to cover their fear.
The MDC Alliance also demanded that the voters’ roll should be subjected to external auditing. This is not provided for in the law. And the alliance is top heavy with lawyers. But they wanted to be reminded by ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba that what they are asking for is patently illegal. If they want the law changed, as lawyers, they know where the Legislature is located.
Justice Chigumba has advised them to go ahead and conduct the audit at their own expense, and let the nation benefit from their findings.
Previously they used to allege that Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede was the problem. They demanded a new voters’ roll under a new administration, which they have got. They demanded the setting up of independent commissions, which they got. They demanded polling station-based voting, which they got. They demanded access to public media, which they got.
It does appear that the more concessions they can extract from a reformist Zanu-PF leader, the more ridiculous their demands. These childish demands have become a way of trying to purchase undeserved public sympathy, they want to be treated as an orphaned child.
Demanding electoral reforms has become a substitute for party policy. Which in short is another way of demanding that ZEC must institute reforms to make an opposition loss impossible. They want Zanu-PF and ZEC to be viewed as being unfair to the opposition, a shameless gimmick. They have insisted that the ZEC secretariat is militarised. In a statement at the weekend, ZEC revealed that it had previously discussed these devious allegations with all stakeholders. It said those making the allegations had been challenged to produce the evidence. None has been forthcoming, meaning they are nothing, but posturing to deceive voters who are ignorant of the law.
In any case, which law says our gallant sons and daughters who fought the liberation war and served in the security agencies after independence cannot be employed in civilian roles? What is their crime?
That they went to war and have served in the military, the police and secret service? Was that not in the national interest? Why should that past be treated as criminal, yet those who campaigned for sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the century, and still insist that they be maintained, feel qualified to lead the country?
Our last word is that opposition parties should leave the independent commissions to do their work. If they no longer want them they make their case in Parliament.
We expect even compromised private media to scrutinise the demands to make a distinction between what is genuine and what is clearly frivolous. Don’t they pretend they want voters to make informed decisions? So why support ridiculous MDC Alliance electoral demands which they know ZEC is not authorised to do at law?