Makarau’s comments preposterous
UTTERANCES by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau that those with complaints over irregularities about the number of police officers to participate in next week’s “special vote” should bring evidence to back their claims, is strange as much as it is preposterous.
She challenged complainants, who include the MDC-T, questioning the authenticity of the 69 000 police officers who applied for special voting to bring evidence that they were not members of the security forces.
Zec’s mandate is to investigate complaints by the various parties to ensure a free and fair election and avoid, by all means, the repeat of the shambolic and disputed election of 2008. By shirking their responsibility to investigate complaints and asking the complainants to investigate and give evidence gives credence to the belief that this commission is no different from its disastrous predecessor.
The fear of a sham poll is not made any better when you consider that the secretariat of Zec, who spent five weeks without announcing the results of the first round of the 2008 presidential election where MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai outpolled President Robert Mugabe, but only 24 hours to announce the results of the sham one-man Presidential runoff where Mugabe contested alone, is the same secretariat in place.
The only change is that of Justice Makarau and the new commissioners. The disenfranchisement of thousands of voters during the registration process has already skewed the outcome of the election. That the commission only extended the voter registration hours on the last day when it was evident that it would not be adequate to accommodate the huge number of those wanting to vote smacks not only of arrogance, but underhand motives to ensure that they shortchange the electorate in urban areas which largely support Tsvangirai. In provinces such as Mashonaland Central where Mugabe commands support, the registration process was smooth. The number of registration centres in each province is telling of the discrepancies in the electoral registration process. Bulawayo, with an official population of 655 675, had 35 centres, Harare and Chitungwiza with 2,1 million had 48 centres, Manicaland with 1,76 million had 300 centres, Mashonaland Central with 1,13 million had 388 centres and Mashonaland East with 1,33 million had 418 registration centres. The failure of Zec and the Registrar-General’s Office to superintend over a well-run voter registration, is not surprising given their appalling record of conducting elections.
Although we sympathise with Tsvangirai, he should shoulder a large part of the blame after he shockingly defended Zec earlier this year.
“It will be credible. I don’t know why it should not be. . . an election will be run by a legally-qualified chairperson who is chairperson of Zec,” Tsvangirai said in March.
The MDC-T leader is now facing the consequences as the country seems to be heading for another disputed poll which is already evident.
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