BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
POLITICAL parties and election watchdogs have challenged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to dispel poll rigging accusations for it to gain public confidence and trust ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This comes after Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana said political parties should prove that the electoral body rigged polls in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.
“If you want to say Zec has rigged elections or that something has not been done correctly, then we need substantive evidence. There is a provision of the Electoral Court in the Electoral Act where you should take all these matters,” Mangwana said while addressing a peace-building youth caucus in Harare recently.
However, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy spokesperson Ostallos Siziba said there was enough information in the public domain to expose Zec’s malpractices.
“The cocktail of evidence of elections being rigged is not only in the political market, but in the courts. There are cases contested in courts that we have taken to court as CCC in Manicaland over elections proving beyond doubt that there is chicanery happening within Zec. Zec must pass the credibility and transparency tests. It’s very unfortunate that Mangwana would utter such arrogant statements,” Siziba said.
Election Resource Centre’s legal and advocacy officer Takunda Tsunga said Zec should engage stakeholders and build public confidence in the electoral process.
“Zec must refrain from antagonising citizens by arbitrarily dismissing concerns around police conduct, the voters roll, traditional leader involvement in partisan politics and election-related violence,” Tsunga said.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya, however, said Zec was justified in calling on political parties to submit evidence on election rigging.
“For good reason, I agree with Jasper (Mangwana). The onus is on political parties to prove because they are the victims. It’s a good opportunity to expose anything unbecoming that Zec does. They need to accept the challenge and quantify their claims,” Ngwenya
Labour, Economists and Afrikan Democrats party leader Linda Masarira weighed in saying those accusing Zec of malpractice should prove the allegations.