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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Biti accuses junta of running parallel structures in ZEC
    Tichaona Sibanda, SW Radio Africa
    July 16, 2013

    The MDC-T has accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of a series of electoral breaches, chief among them allowing the special voting to spill into a third day, which they said was unconstitutional.

    The special voting for about 90,000 government workers, who will be on duty during the elections on July 31st, was meant to be done in two days, Sunday and Monday, but ZEC allowed it to continue on Tuesday.

    Biti agreed with media reports that the two-day special vote was engulfed by massive irregularities that also exposed ZEC’s lack of readiness to conduct the upcoming harmonized elections in just one day, in two week’s time.

    The Finance Minister accused the military junta of having a hand in what was happening within the electoral body. He explained that there was a total disconnect between the ZEC head office and some of its officials in the field, who are obviously not acting under instructions from their superiors.

    ‘There is another master they’re reporting to and in our respective view, it is the junta, who have clearly taken over the running of these elections,’ Biti said.

    At a press conference in Harare, Biti recounted numerous breaches from the two day special voting, that ranged from non delivery of voting material to corrupt election practices. The most serious breach was to allow the voting to be extended to Tuesday without seeking a court clearance.

    ‘I think our calls for changes to ZEC staffing have been vindicated. Except for the ZEC chair Rita Makarau and the commissioners, some of the staff at the electoral body has failed to deliver.

    ‘We have lost institutional faith in ZEC despite our strong respect for individuals in the body. What we’ve seen now is that ZEC is no longer in charge.

    ‘There were 209 polling stations across the country trying to service about 70,000 people. In three days they failed to do that. Come July 31st there will be six million Zimbabweans in over 9,000 polling stations,’ he said.

    Some of the complaints that MDC-T officials sent to their command centre were efforts by Zanu-PF to bus in police officers in the dead of night to polling centres. Most of them however failed to cast their votes as they were not on the voters’ rolls for the particular constituencies they were driven to.

    At the Suri Suri Airforce base outside Chegutu, there was a zero voter turn out as the expected voters just did not pitch up. In Marondera, most police officers failed to vote as they were sent to keep peace and order at Robert Mugabe’s star rally in the town.

    In central Harare, police had to dispatch anti-riot squads to control their uniformed colleagues who were attempting to force their way into a polling station at Town House on Monday. They were complaining at the lack of ballot papers. In Mt Pleasant, some officers broke the windows at the polling station, in anger at the chaotic voting.

    But police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, blamed the MDC-T for the chaotic scenes that characterized the special voting.

    She told journalists that because of the ‘frivolous’ nature of court applications filed by the MDC-T, ZEC were left with little time to print ballots for the exercise.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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