OPPOSITION Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, has claimed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has been “captured by the ruling party through its exercise of State power”, so that it does not operate independently ahead of next year’s general elections.
BY SILAS NKALA
Addressing Bulawayo residents at the weekend, Dabengwa accused the Zanu PF government of deliberately underfunding Zec and delaying the alignment of the Electoral Act to the Constitution, as part of a ploy to ensure the electoral management body remains subservient to the State.
“Electoral reforms specified in the new Constitution have not taken place. The greatest failure has been to strengthen the independence and capacity of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” he said.
“The commission has simply been captured by the ruling party through its exercise of State power.
“The open capture of Zec and processes such as BVR (biometric voters’ registration) are not just a concern for Zapu and other parties in the Coalition of Democrats (Code), but a uniting factor among all genuine opposition parties.
“We shall collectively push for genuine reforms to ensure a level playing field for 2018 elections, or else there is no point in legitimising the intended fraud by taking part in such perversion in the name of elections.”
The government recently stopped the United Nations Development Programme from mobilising funds for BVR kits, saying it would source the funds locally.
But, opposition parties and civil society groups said they smelt a rat over the new arrangement, as it could be part of a plot to manipulate Zec.
Dabengwa said opposition parties affiliated to Code would soon launch a fresh campaign to demand electoral reforms, including Zec’s independence.
“The Code coalition will be launched next month, March 25, 2017 barring any unforeseen eventualities,” he said. “We shall participate in large numbers from all the member parties. The occasion will signal the beginning of intense activity around our collective action programme.”