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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • ZEC should prove it is not rigging
    Movement for Democratic Change
    July 24, 2013

    The question of impartiality or lack thereof has been a thorny issue in the Zimbabwe’s electoral management body the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) since the formation of the MDC.

    There is no equivocation that the MDC has been winning elections since its formation but has been losing the vote count owing to the partiality of ZEC.

    Judging by the conduct of ZEC in previous elections, the MDC has every reason to be worried and call upon the electoral management body to institute mechanisms that instil confidence in the people that their vote is not going to waste but will make a meaningful contribution towards change in Zimbabwe.

    Since 2000, we have seen how the electoral management body has been used by Zanu PF to subvert the will of the people.

    In June 2000, following the famous constitutional referendum defeat, ZEC drastically reduced the number of polling stations particularly in the urban areas for the parliamentary elections.

    Thousands of eligible urban voters were deliberately disenfranchised and could not cast their ballot. In the rural areas, where Zanu-PF is perceived to enjoy support, polling stations were erected at kraals. This same rigging tactic was employed during the 2002 presidential election.

    In 2005, the electoral management body in cohorts with the delimitation commission employed the tactic of gerrymandering whereby urban seats were combined with rural seats to dilute the MDC vote. As a result, the MDC parliamentary share plummeted from 57 seats to 41 seats.

    In 2008, it took ZEC more than six weeks to announce the presidential election results which when they were finally announced were unashamedly rigged in favour of Zanu-PF. The MDC’s own internal parallel voter tabulation revealed that President Tsvangirai had gotten more than enough votes to avoid and run-off. For the same body to preside over a sham run-off election, which was international discredited, was rather open mischief.

    Judging by the conduct of ZEC during the special vote of 14 and 15 July 2013, the MDC and every democracy, change and transformation loving person has every reason to be worried.

    The surplus of irregularities that overwhelmed this process only manifests that ZEC, despite having new Commissioners, is a case of old wine in new bottles. It is a fact that by close of the first day of voting more than 95 percent of polling stations has not received voting material.

    It is a fact that ballot papers were only printed the day before the election. It also a fact that ZEC was not in charge of the electoral process but senior police officers who were coercing police personnel to vote for Zanu-PF.

    The question lingering in every Zimbabwean’s mind is, if ZEC cannot manage a mere 209 polling stations, how will they manage over 9 500 polling stations on July 31? If ZEC fails to print ballot papers for a mere 70 000 people, how they will print for the 6.4 million eligible voters? Put simply, does ZEC have the capacity to ensure the will of the people is respected? Thus Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has every right and reason to question the institutional capacity of ZEC to deliver on 31 July 2013.

    It is for this reason that the MDC has called for the commission to hire new civilian staff to superintend the election process. From the highlighted irregularities and the perpetual bungling by ZEC it is abundantly clear that there are dark forces with the electoral management body that are bent on manipulating the vote.

    The MDC and the people of Zimbabwe have learnt from past experience and will not allow ZEC to stand in their way and their resolve for change and transformation. ZEC cannot and must not allow itself to emerge as a stumbling block to the peoples’ thirst for freedoms, democracy, real change and transformation.

    The onus is on ZEC to allay fears that elections are rigged before they even start. ZEC must prove and instil confidence in the people that it is ready to preside over a transparent election.

    The MDC will follow and watch every process and step to ensure that rigging does not take place. The MDC will not allow the perpetual feat of winning elections and losing the vote count. Come July 31, the people will endorse real change and transformation.

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