ZEC must be called to order: MDC

Posted by Ben Hadley on 2018-07-11 13:42:00 | Views: 15 |

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ZEC must be called to order: MDC

The integrity and credibility of our election is now being undermined and compromised on a daily basis and ZEC is a willing tool at the center of it.

It is now almost impossible to have a free, fair, credible and verifiable election unless SADC and AU make urgent interventions. Preventative diplomacy is better than curative diplomacy. Once beaten twice shy. President Mnangagwa is committed to a peaceful but manipulated election. President Chamisa wants the people of Zimbabwe to choose their leader peacefully, freely and fairly. Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice. Justice can only be present if the election is credible, free, fair and verifiable.

I want to bring to your attention the levels of electoral insanity that we have witnessed in the past few days.

1.Ballot Printing Scandal
It has come to our attention that ZEC is saying it has finished printing the scandalous ballot papers.

When I met with the ZEC Chairperson on July 2, she said ballot printing had started 3 days before the scheduled date of observation by parties because the Commission was running out of time since it takes 30 days to print the ballots. The 30 days have suddenly become 11 days. This is incredible and embarrassing.

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.

2. Mobile numbers Scandal

ZEC has to-date not given us the biometric voters' roll as per the law and which is going to be used on Election Day.

The reason advanced being that it would amount to invasion of people's privacy if pictures were made public. This is absurd. A person's face is on public display already. Besides, the voters' roll is a public document and voters know that. What should be secret is the vote not the voter.

A rational person would have said what might infringe on one's privacy is their address not their face.

To add salt to injury we have now learnt that Zanu-PF has been given access to people's cellphone numbers, which could only be found on the voters' roll ZEC is holding since these numbers are linked to constituencies. In a functioning democracy only those Commissioners who are not self-respecting will resist doing the honourable thing and resign and stop being used like pawns in a game of chase that they will lose with time because competitive authoritarian regimes will eventually fall sooner rather than later.

I will pose the same question that I have posed before. Are the ZEC Commissioners in charge of ZEC?  The answer to me is an emphatic NO. With this scandal only a fool will continue to vouch for ZEC's independence from Zanu-PF and other unprofessional figures who have no business in election management.

3. Our Demands

Our demands remain the same.  ZEC should stop hiding behind one broken finger. ZEC cannot pretend to hide behind the law. Our demands are not prohibited under the law. So, that which is not specifically prohibited should be allowed.

Above all, our demands talk to a higher law - the supreme law of the land. We are simply demanding fairness and transparency in the printing of ballot papers, their storage and their distribution in an inclusive and participatory way. That's not against the law. This transparency will ensure the exercise of a fundamental right by our candidate to have access to information held by the state to enable him to participate effectively in an election. Above all, it will build confidence in the process and trust between ZEC, the parties and the people.

We must make it clear that as stakeholders and citizens we will never make requests but demands from those who govern us with the authority derived from us. They are only two authorities that we make requests from- our
Parents and God. This culture that has existed in this country that the governed beg the governors to be governed well is not in our vocabulary. You are not doing us a favour but you are there to serve us and not to be served by us.

ZEC must also disabuse itself of the notion that being independent means you are not accountable. The Judiciary is independent but it is accountable to the society it serves because it derives its authority from it so does ZEC'.
I must also make it clear that our demands for the enforcement of the rights of the candidate I represent are not dependent upon other parties demanding the same. Although welcome, it is not a condition precedent. NO.

4. Growing Frustrations

Finally, let me warn that the young people of this country who are the majority voters are getting impatient and frustrated by the continued machinations of ZEC which is moving from one scandal to another. They see this election as their only hope for a better future.

Everyday as ZEC continues with its shenanigans they are seeing that future being stolen in broad daylight. Their hopes had been raised when one of their own, President Nelson Chamisa whose youth was also stolen, bravely stood up to take up the challenge to lead them to reclaim their future and dignity from a geriatric leadership whose only concern for the past 38 years has been to line its pockets through unbridled corruption at their expense. They are yearning for the NEW CHANGE THAT DELIVERS not the current mirage. Do not let them take matters into their own hands as their predecessors did before 1980 when they were faced with the same intransigence.

ZEC must not be the reason for it neither should it be the reason for our country to continue to be a pariah state for failure to do one simple thing - Conduct a free, fair, credible, verifiable and inclusive election.  IS THAT A BIG ASK?

Hon Jameson Timba
Chief Election Agent of President Nelson Chamisa

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