Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

MDC threatens Zec with legal action

By Tendai Kamhungira

The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has threatened to drag the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to court for awarding the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits tender to a Chinese company, Laxton Group.

Rita Makarau
Rita Makarau

It said the move is part of its quest to ensure next year’s elections are free and fair.

Zec last Thursday announced Laxton Group as the supplier of BVR kits.

However, the MDC said the process was controversial and was allegedly a ploy by the ruling Zanu PF to “manipulate” the results of the eagerly-awaited 2018 national elections.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday told the Daily News that they will not allow that to happen ahead of the 2018 polls.

“We are definitely going to take legal action against Zec over the issue. This time we have our eyes on the ball. Ichidembo tamba tamba muswe ndakabata (this time around we will not lose grip). Once bitten, twice shy. We will not allow Zanu PF to have its cake and eat it,” he said.

This comes as opposition parties are still smarting from the electoral controversies of the 2013 election, when an Israeli company, Nikuv, allegedly manipulated the vote in favour of Zanu PF.

In a statement over the weekend, MDC said the award to the Chinese firm is in stark contradiction to the recommendations made by political parties that observed the BVR validation process.

“The MDC is aware that the Zanu PF appointed State Procurement Board (SPB) directly influenced Zec to award this tender to the Chinese company,” MDC said.

The tender was awarded after weeks of bid assessments and site validation tests after which a recommendation was made to the SPB.

Laxton Group and Dermalog Identification Systems from Germany were the only two companies that had remained in the race after the third, Zetes Group from Belgium, pulled out of the tender process.

“Our technical experts are convinced that the German company, Dermalog Identification Systems, is technically superior and better experienced in the supply of BVR kits compared to the Chinese company, Laxton Group,” MDC said.

Gutu further said they will use all means necessary to ensure that Zanu PF will not arm-twist the 2018 voting process.

“We will use all legitimate means at our disposal, that is going to the court, engaging Sadc, the African Union or even the United Nations if need be.

“We will use all diplomatic and legal means, because we believe the people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough, and there has to be an end game and people are looking at us as MDC because we are the biggest opposition political party and we can’t disappoint them,” he said.

Asked when they are going to contest these new developments, Gutu said they will do it immediately.

“We held our policy workshop over the weekend and we are also going to have a national standing committee meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow)and the national executive meeting on Friday, where we will discuss and map the way forward pertaining to the issue,” he said. Daily News