By Daniel Chigundu
Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) President Elton Mangoma says the biometric voters roll has already been compromised and opposition parties should instead demand the use of identity cards as was the case in 1980.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is going to introduce a biometric voters’ roll for the 2018 general elections and registration is set to start in June this year.
ZEC is in the process of trying to acquire the BVR kits, and UNDP had pledged chip in with the full amount of the acquisition, but government made a last minute summersault and Mangoma said this raises questions on the credibility of the new system
Addressing delegates during a Coalition of Democrats (CODE) meeting, Mangoma said he has always doubted ZEC’s ability to preside over free and fair elections.
“I have always had doubts that this process would bring about a credible voters roll. The latest reports have just now confirmed it ZEC cannot be trusted to produce a genuine voters roll.
“I think what we should demand as opposition parties is that we dump the use of voters roll in 2018 and use national identity cards like what happened in 1980,” he said.
Meanwhile, MDC-T national spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party is deeply worried by the involvement of Zanu PF in the acquisition of BVR machines as ZEC is supposed to be an independent commission.
“Recent reports to the effect that the bankrupt and faction – infested Zanu PF regime has, all of a sudden, managed to raise the more than US$17 million that is needed to acquire biometric voter registration kits are very disturbing. The MDC is deeply concerned about the improper involvement of the Zanu PF regime in the acquisition of the biometric voter registration kits.
“For the record, the Constitution of Zimbabwe specifically provides, under Section 232, that the ZEC is one of the five (5) independent Commissions. This essentially means that ZEC should be getting its own budgetary allocation from the national budget for the purpose of running its operations. Put simply, ZEC is not a department within any government ministry and as such, not even the Ministry of Justice has the constitutional right to dictate what amount of money should be allocated to ZEC,” he said.
According to Gutu, the decision to approach UNDP was reached after realising that government was broke and could not acquire the kits on its own.
The MDC-T spokesperson said he is actually surprised that government has all of a sudden managed to find the required resources to fund the acquisition on its own.
“It, therefore, boggles the mind how a bankrupt government would, all of a sudden, have managed to find the millions of United States dollars that are required to purchase the kits. Something very fishy and dodgy is certainly taking place here.
“The MDC is convinced that the Zanu PF regime is in panic mode and that they are not prepared to allow a situation whereby ZEC will independently and transparently acquire the biometric voter registration kits. In fact, the MDC has got solid and irrefutable evidence pointing to a nefarious and sordid agenda by the crumbling and fascist Zanu PF regime to ensure that only a company that they can manipulate will be awarded the contract to supply the biometric kits,” Gutu said.
Gutu added that the ghost of NIKUV is still haunting the nation of Zimbabwe and that his party is going to do everything possible to ensure that BVR kits are supplied by legitimate and credible companies that are not related to NIKUV and that MDC-T will not allow Zanu PF to steal the people’s vote in 2018.
Adding his voice to the subject, PDP president Tendai Biti said by rejecting electoral reforms and kicking UNDP out, Zanu PF has literary shown that it has captured ZEC.
“We are less than 18 months to an election but there are no reforms. As we sit here right now, the UNDP has been kicked out. Zanu PF is known for predatory, toxic politics. It is State capture. Zanu PF is confirming that it has captured ZEC,” Biti said.