ENDURING pictures of Zanu PF supporters in Norton filling forms for residential stands at a rally addressed by party secretary for youth, Kudzai Chipanga, ahead of the constituency by-elections tomorrow have invoked sharp criticism of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), which has been accused of sleeping on the job.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) legal secretary, Douglas Mwonzora, accused Zanu PF of bribing people to vote for its candidate, Ronald Chindedza, while Zec just watched by the sidelines.
“It is a violation of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.Giving the electorate something in return for votes is bribery and, as such, an electoral malpractice, which Zec should have noted and stopped,” he said.
Nera, which has said it was using the Norton by-election as a test case on the willingness by Zec and government to implement electoral reforms and observe the Constitution, said it was disappointed with events unfolding ahead of the elections.
“There is no willingness on the part of government to initiate electoral reforms. Further, there is no intention by Zec to enforce the Electoral Act. Zec and (chairperson, Justice Rita) Makarau are accomplices in this gross violation of electoral rules,” Mwonzora said.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, said they had noted with concern the vote-buying, intimidation and violence that was playing out in the constituency.
“Dishing out stands, as we have seen happening in Norton, is indeed in violation of the electoral laws and giving voters things ahead of elections amounts to vote-buying and it exerts undue influence on the electorate, thereby, creating an unlevel playing field,” she said.
Nera has, however, vowed to fight the alleged electoral injustice, promising to bring the heat to Makarau’s doorstep.
“We are under no illusion that the struggle for electoral reforms will come easy. As Nera, we are regrouping and we have a plan to force these electoral reforms. We will be rolling out the plans shortly because we are not taking these gross violations lying down,” Mwonzora said.