EDITORIAL COMMENT: Chamisa running scared

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Jul 8, 2018 | 848 views
Nelson Chamisa

Nelson Chamisa

THE ruling Zanu-PF party has been doing its bidding very well with President Mnangagwa winning support from all fronts, locally and abroad.

The international re-engagement strategy has been working very well and even Zimbabweans based outside the country have responded to the call to support businesses back home, something that has changed the country’s business environment and indeed the political scene.

President Mnangagwa has been speaking about things that keep people awake at night, seeking to address issues like job creation, shelter, education, food, transport and health. The Zanu-PF manifesto is also people centred, aimed at changing the country’s economy for the better to make lives of Zimbabweans enjoyable.

Because of that, opposition politicians  know that Zanu-PF is getting stronger by the day and are running scared. This has forced the MDC Alliance presidential candidate Advocate Nelson Chamisa to resort to tricks used by the opposition in the past of threatening not to take part in the elections if some electoral reforms are not done. And the so called reforms keep coming up day by day, regardless of the fact that the opposition was part of the Constitution making process that paved the way to the laws governing elections which are at play today.

Last week, the MDC Alliance threatened to unleash an “earthquake” to force President Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba to accede to its demands ahead of the July 30 polls. The MDC Alliance has complained about the voters roll, ballot paper printing and provision of specimens of the same, among others.

However, Zec has repeatedly dismissed claims by the MDC Alliance. In a statement last week, Zec chairperson Justice Chigumba rapped some political parties, saying their demands to be close to the printing machines for ballot papers in a highly securitised area was an abuse of the right to transparency. Justice Chigumba said the Constitution empowered Zec to have the sole responsibility on the designing, printing and distribution of the ballot paper.

“According to Section 239(g) of the Constitution, the designing and printing and distribution of ballot papers are the sole responsibility of Zec. Anyone else other than Zec demanding to be involved in these functions directly or indirectly is deemed by the commission as one attempting to usurp the powers and independence of the electoral management body.

“However, the Multi-party Liaison Committee is currently tasked with building consensus around this area. To enhance transparency in the electioneering process, the law also compels the commission to publish the name of the ballot paper printer and the number of ballots printed. This will be done at the conclusion of the printing process.”

On accessing the printing process by political parties, Justice Chigumba said while there were no legal obligations compelling the election management body to invite stakeholders, they did so in the spirit of promoting transparency.

“In the spirit of transparency and stakeholder engagement, the commission invited stakeholders, including representatives of all political parties contesting presidential elections, local and foreign observers, embassies, as well as civic society and faith- based organisations to witness ballot paper printing at Fidelity Printers last Friday,” said Justice Chigumba.

“However, the commission noted with concern demands by some political parties to get very close to the printing machines which are located in an area with high security documents belonging to other clients. The commission views such demands as an abuse of the right to transparency.”

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