Thursday, May 10, 2018

MDC-T plots protests over ballots

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THE opposition MDC-T led by Kuwadzana East lawmaker, Nelson Chamisa is planning to roll out demonstrations to protest against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (Zec’s) decision to allegedly “clandestinely” award the tender for the procurement of the voting material.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Party organising secretary, Amos Chibaya said the MDC-T is angry at Zec’s apparent taking of orders from Zanu PF on a critical electoral process.
“The issue of who prints the ballot is critical to the credibility of the election and we are not going to be bullied on this one. We do not have a date yet, but we are on the ground planning.
“I can assure you we will not let this go. We have tried to engage Zec within the confines of the political parties platform but it has not helped. They have gone ahead with assistance from Zanu PF to appoint their own people to print the ballots,” he said.
Chamisa warned early this week, while addressing supporters in the UK, that he has the support to bring the country to a halt if there was no agreement regarding the way the crucial election is to be administered and if the necessary reforms are not implemented.
“We approached the Justice minister (Ziyambi Ziyambi) and demanded that we have one printer with political parties there to ensure the security of the ballot as was the case in other countries like Kenya and Malawi.
“We will not boycott elections. We have the people and if we make the call the country will come to a standstill and that we can do. We are not joking about this. It is a matter of life and death,” Chamisa said.
On Tuesday Ziyambi led Zanu PF lawmakers in rejecting a proposal by the MDC-T to amend the Electoral Act and allow political parties to take part in the selection of the ballot supplier.
“I reject that. It is already covered by the Procurement Act. We cannot talk about another law, which deviates from an existing law. This provision is problematic to accept. We cannot violate our procurement laws to say we want more than 200 political parties to see where the ballot papers are printed,” Ziyambi said.
Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba referred all questions to acting chief elections officer, Utloile Silaigwana.
“He is our official spokesperson and he will be able to tell exactly what we are doing about that,” she said.
Silaigwana requested for questions in writing and had not responded by the time of going to print.
Chibaya said MDC-T is shocked that Zec was going to extremes to make the identity of the ballot supplier a secret.
“If (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa and Zec want to deliver a free and fair election, we do not understand how they would want to make part of the process so secretive. It is important to us to know how many ballots will be printed and by who. The identity of the supplier will help in instilling a sense of confidence in not only the electoral process but the result,” he said.
Party deputy treasurer-general, Chalton Hwende took to social media to campaign for the protest.
“We are now finalising our plans for massive demonstrations across the country. There will be no elections without an open tender for the printing of the ballot paper. This is a call to action to all young people in Zimbabwe,” he wrote.