THOUGH the Constitution says all people are equal before the law, when it comes to implementation the law moves fast against opposition political parties as shown in the manner the two rallies — one for the ruling Zanu PF party in Marondera and the other for the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield — were treated by those in charge of enforcing law and order.
No conditions were set for Zanu PF rally, where thousands of people were bussed from all provinces to add numbers to appease President Emmerson Mnangagwa who had been billed to address the rally. He failed to show up, however, and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga officiated before the transplanted crowd. There were over a hundred buses, mostly those owned by the State-controlled transporter, Zupco, that were used to ferry supporters according to some estimates.
On the other hand, stringent conditions were set for Nelson Chamisa’s CCC rally, including barring supporters from other constituencies from attending the opposition party’s campaign launch. Zimbabwe Republic Police even warned that they would stop the launch if people were bussed to the venue.
Odds are clearly stacked against Chamisa’s party as witnessed by recent developments on the political front.
And then the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was found illegally fiddling with the voters roll, moving more than 170 000 voters from their constituencies and wards.
ZEC has been at pains to explain the anomaly. In a firefighting mission, the electoral body allegedly fired employees for leaking the roll and distanced itself from the disgraced document. It has yet to produce the “authentic” roll.
“The commission wishes to dissociate itself with the copy of the alleged voters roll that was allegedly issued to the stakeholder concerned for the reason that it was not procedurally issued and for the record, it has reason to believe that there was connivance between certain members of its staff and a representative of the stakeholder to issue a tempered copy so as to suit that stakeholder’s narrative,” ZEC acting chief elections officer Jane Pamhirai Chigidji said.
ZEC has hardly been an embodiment of credibility, but the latest shenanigans have shattered any trace of believability in the commission as an arbiter of free and fair elections. In a democracy, there is no way ZEC would be allowed to superintend over any kind of election.
The commission has been found wanting on several occasions. It is high time ZEC was held accountable to the people, and conducted itself professionally to protect the people’s vote and avoid contested election results.
With its current administration, that looks far-fetched.