Biti accuses junta of running parallel structures in ZEC

July 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

By Tichaona Sibanda

The MDC-T has accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of a series of
electoral breaches, chief among them allowing the special voting to spill
into a third day, which they said was unconstitutional.

The special voting for about 90,000 government workers, who will be on duty
during the elections on July 31st, was meant to be done in two days, Sunday
and Monday, but ZEC allowed it to continue on Tuesday.

Biti agreed with media reports that the two-day special vote was engulfed by
massive irregularities that also exposed ZEC’s lack of readiness to conduct
the upcoming harmonized elections in just one day, in two week’s time.

The Finance Minister accused the military junta of having a hand in what was
happening within the electoral body. He explained that there was a total
disconnect between the ZEC head office and some of its officials in the
field, who are obviously not acting under instructions from their superiors.

‘There is another master they’re reporting to and in our respective view, it
is the junta, who have clearly taken over the running of these elections,’
Biti said.

At a press conference in Harare, Biti recounted numerous breaches from the
two day special voting, that ranged from non delivery of voting material to
corrupt election practices. The most serious breach was to allow the voting
to be extended to Tuesday without seeking a court clearance.

‘I think our calls for changes to ZEC staffing have been vindicated. Except
for the ZEC chair Rita Makarau and the commissioners, some of the staff at
the electoral body has failed to deliver.

‘We have lost institutional faith in ZEC despite our strong respect for
individuals in the body. What we’ve seen now is that ZEC is no longer in
charge.

‘There were 209 polling stations across the country trying to service about
70,000 people. In three days they failed to do that. Come July 31st there
will be six million Zimbabweans in over 9,000 polling stations,’ he said.

Some of the complaints that MDC-T officials sent to their command centre
were efforts by ZANU PF to bus in police officers in the dead of night to
polling centres. Most of them however failed to cast their votes as they
were not on the voters’ rolls for the particular constituencies they were
driven to.

At the Suri Suri Airforce base outside Chegutu, there was a zero voter turn
out as the expected voters just did not pitch up. In Marondera, most police
officers failed to vote as they were sent to keep peace and order at Robert
Mugabe’s star rally in the town.

In central Harare, police had to dispatch anti-riot squads to control their
uniformed colleagues who were attempting to force their way into a polling
station at Town House on Monday. They were complaining at the lack of ballot
papers. In Mt Pleasant, some officers broke the windows at the polling
station, in anger at the chaotic voting.

But police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba,
blamed the MDC-T for the chaotic scenes that characterized the special
voting.

She told journalists that because of the ‘frivolous’ nature of court
applications filed by the MDC-T, ZEC were left with little time to print
ballots for the exercise.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

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