HARARE – Opposition parties yesterday came out guns blazing, accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, of acting in bad faith after announcing that the printing of presidential ballot papers for the July 30 harmonised elections had been completed.
Zec said on Wednesday that the printing of ballot papers had been completed and the number of printed ballots would be published soon.
“We can confirm that the presidential ballot paper has been printed and is complete.
“It was done at Fidelity Printers where political parties went and saw the printing process. Very soon the commission will, in terms of the law, publish the number of ballots that have been printed. We can confirm that the presidential ballot paper has been printed and is complete,” Zec commissioner Qhubani Moyo said.
On Wednesday, the country’s main opposition, the MDC Alliance, took to the streets of Harare demonstrating against Zec, raising the transparent printing of ballot papers as one of their major queries.
“It has come to our attention that Zec is saying it has finished printing the scandalous ballot papers.
“We have been reliably informed that the main reason among others why there was no observation of ballot printing at Fidelity Printers is that there was simply no printing taking place there because printing had been done elsewhere. It was a decoy — a joke that has ceased to be funny,” MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa’s chief election agent Jameson Timba said.
Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party spokesperson Jeffreyson Chitando alleged the ruling party has captured Zec.
“We are under command election. A democratic process involves every political player but the military government has captured independent constitutional commissions to drive its mafia agenda. We will not accept a referee who throws away the whistle when a particular team is under pressure.
“(Joice) Mujuru, the presidential candidate for People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC), PRC partners, PRC candidates and supporters have lost faith in Zec under the leadership of (Priscilla) Chigumba to deliver a free, fair, credible and transparent election.
“NPP and PRC now believe the unclear circumstances which led to the resignation of … Rita Makarau, had to pave way for the appointment of the regime’s partisan chairperson. We challenge … Chigumba to clear the perception that she is not impartial by acting swiftly to involve every political party in the election process.
Transparency in the electoral process builds confidence,” Chitando said.
Vice president of the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC, Obert Gutu, said Zec should have allowed the opposition parties to verify the authenticity and security features of the ballot papers.
“It’s very, very unfortunate that Zec has proved to be stubborn and intransigent as far as the issue of the printing of the ballot papers is concerned. This stubbornness and intransigence actually raises more questions than answers,” Gutu said. What, exactly is Zec hiding from the opposition political parties? Can Zec be trusted with the responsibility of running a free, fair and credible election?
“What Zec should have done is to simply afford all contesting political parties and even independent candidates the opportunity to verify the authenticity and security features of the ballot paper as well as the transparency of the actual printing process. Zec doesn’t have an entirely clean record in the running of elections in Zimbabwe. In order to eliminate any room for doubt and mistrust, Zec should have acted in a more accountable and transparent manner,” Gutu said.
Spokesperson of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC Kurauone Chihwayi told the Daily News Zec acted in bad faith but they are telling the world something different. “The midnight printing of ballot papers is not acceptable. The red flag is now up in Zimbabwe. The credibility of our 2018 elections is now in danger.
“We are demanding a stakeholder-driven electoral process not this Nicodemus printing and secret keeping of ballot papers. Election results are facing rejection if the electoral body continues to exhibit chameleon colours,” Chihwayi said.
This comes as civic society groups have also voiced their concerns regarding Zec’s choice of printers, arguing that the selection process should have been done through an open public tender.