By Blessings Mashaya
Former Higher Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, has sensationally claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was planning to rig this month’s harmonised elections through the use of ballot papers designed to project a particular result.
Moyo, a former Zanu PF politburo member who is currently in self-imposed exile in Kenya, said on Friday through micro-blogging platform, Twitter, that it was crucial to test the ballot papers before elections.
“If you can have pens whose ink disappears in a few hours, you can have a ballot paper that’s designed to disappear the ink or what’s marked on parts of it. So it’s crucial to test the ballot paper. Reports say Mnangagwa has asked his Belarus links for a ballot paper solution!”
Efforts to get comment from Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.
Moyo skipped the country around mid-November last year in the wake of a soft coup that ended former president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year long reign.
He is now wanted in Zimbabwe in connection with allegations of abuse of office after he allegedly siphoned substantial amounts of money from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund, which he superintended over as minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.
The authorities have since appealed to the International Police to help bring him to justice.
Moyo recently claimed that Mnangagwa’s administration has roped in the Chinese — long considered to be the country’s all-weather friends — to rig the July 30 elections.
Zimbabwe endured a long history of disputed poll outcomes under Mugabe, which wrecked its agro-based economy, weighed down by massive unemployment and widespread poverty.
While the new government of Mnangagwa has promised to deliver free and fair polls, its rivals are not convinced.
Opposition parties and other civic service organisations had in the past voiced their concerns regarding the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s choice of printers, arguing that the selection process should have been done through an open public tender.
However, Zec refused to buckle to the opposition demands, saying the designing, printing and distribution of ballot papers were the sole responsibility of Zec, according to the Constitution and Electoral Act.
“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,” Zec said in a statement recently.
“In the spirit of transparency and stakeholder engagement, the commission invited stakeholders including representatives of all political parties contesting, local and foreign observers, embassies as well as civic society and faith-based organisations to witness ballot paper printing at Fidelity Printers,” Zec said. DailyNews