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Mugabe must be stopped from rigging from the red carpet

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri

OPINION – Unless civil society and opposition parties in Zimbabwe take immediate action to get to the bottom of the matter, President Robert Mugabe will forge ahead with the sham by-elections in March. 

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri

I refer to the story “ Zec must explain itself”, The Zimbabwean, 12 February 2015.

Yes, ZEC must explain itself. Something is seriously wrong at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and it is very important that immediate action is taken to nip the problem in the bud.

I found it strange that on its website, ZEC advertised for a consultancy firm to help it with what it said:

“Consultancy services required for the development of a full operational plan for voter registration” and gave December 29, 2014 as the deadline.

On the advertisement, ZEC said :

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe, ushered in with the 2013 Referendum, extended the mandate of the ZEC to include the registration of voters, the compilation of voters’ rolls and registers and ensuring the proper custody and maintenance of voters’ rolls and registers.

This mandate was previously implemented by the Registrar-General of Voters, under the supervision of ZEC. The new mandate involves the creation of a voters roll ahead of the 2018 Harmonised Elections.”

On the other hand, the Registrar General’s office is also claiming to be responsible for voter registration according to its un-updated website which I found to have a lot of malware that almost damaged my computer this morning as I was browsing.

So, in short, Zanu-PF is playing hide and seek with the electronic voters roll since 18 months ago.

There is a risk that unless civil society groups and opposition parties petition the Constitutional Court to order ZEC to produce the electronic voters roll, Mugabe will forge ahead with another sham election.

Mugabe must be stopped from rigging polls from the red carpet.

Clifford Mashiri is a former diplomat and political analyst based in London. Email:mashiric@lsbu.ac.uk or zimanalysis2009@gmail.com