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EXILED former Zanu PF Cabinet minister and politburo member, Jonathan Moyo, has sensationally claimed that he has unearthed an elaborate plot, where the ruling Zanu PF party had colluded with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to rig the July 30 general elections using hired Chinese cyber experts.
BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI
Moyo, who fled the country at the height of a military operation which facilitated former President Robert Mugabe’s ouster last November, claimed the rigging plot was on an industrial scale and was going to be carried out in 14 different ways.
“Government has seconded to Zec a team of Chinese BVR [biometric voter registration] & cyber experts from the People’s Liberation Army linked to a top Chinese university. Their remit is to manipulate the voters roll through shadowy & virtual polling stations and fake voters,” he said in a post on his Twitter handle.
“The plot is to rig on an industrial scale. The rigging is centred on (1) manipulation of the BVR voters roll; (2) manipulation of polling stations by Zec technical staff from security organs and (3) army intimidation of voters in villages,” Moyo, who once served as government propagandist, said.
But Zec chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana yesterday dismissed Moyo’s claims as highly mischievous.
“That is mischievous. We are not working with the Chinese and I don’t see the reason why we should. What he was saying is totally incorrect,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said he was not a Twitter follower and had not had sight of Moyo’s sensitive tweets.
“Where was he saying this from? I cannot comment to what I have not seen, I never follow Twitter, so I have no comment,” Moyo, who also serves as acting Information minister, said.
Government sources yesterday told NewsDay that the 16-member Chinese team came through Mozambique aboard two private jets and landed at the Charles Prince Airport on the outskirts of Harare at 7:30pm on May 21.
According to sources, nine of the team members are believed to be employees of Guangdong Information Technology Security Evaluation Centre, regarded as the world’s most sophisticated cyber security institution, feared even by American cyber experts.
The team is reported to be operating from an undisclosed location in Mazowe and is due to fly out by mid-July, after which they would offer remote and online assistance should need arise.
The sources claimed that government officials privy to the deal told them that the group was helping to ensure the security and integrity of Zimbabwe’s electoral system in the wake of the BVR exercise, a new system that involves quite a bit of technology.
Moyo said the rigging plot also involved denying the opposition access to the voters’ roll until the nomination court’s sitting although, as he claimed, Zanu PF already had hard copies of the voters’ roll.
“Some 11 days after BVR exercise, closed for 2018 poll & a day before sitting of nomination court #Zec continues to deny the opposition access to the roll, yet it has given #ZanuPF hard copies. #Zec has always done this & I can confirm it under oath,” he said.
Moyo alleged that the hired Chinese team’s mandate was to manipulate the BVR system and create virtual polling stations to guarantee victory for Zanu PF leader and presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He also claimed that Zanu PF had deliberately kept mum and turned a deaf ear to threats by some of its top officials to “repeat June 2008” violence if the party loses the election.
He cited the violence threats made by Zanu PF national commissar Engelbert Rugeje, Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Josaya Hungwe and Finance deputy minister Terrence Mukupe as part of its machinations to intimidate the electorate ahead of the polls.
He also insisted that as long as State security agents were still part of the Zec secretariat, there was no guarantee of free and fair elections, adding that the electoral management body’s entire technical staff was from security organs, while polling officers would be seconded from the public service.
Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba admitted early this year that retired soldiers, members of the Central Intelligence Organisation and police officers constituted 15% of the electoral management body’s secretariat.
Last week, two international election observer groups challenged Zec to avail an analysable electronic voters roll to all political parties and ordered the military to openly pledge allegiance to the presidential candidate, who shall win the elections regardless of their political affiliation, saying anything short of that would dent the credibility of the polls.