REPORTS that the integrity of next year’s elections is already in question following indications that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) could be reduced into manikins while Zanu PF and Israeli firm Nikuv International Projects call the shots are disturbing and unfortunate, as this has the potential to place the country on the precipice.
Comment: NewsDay Editor
The unpalatable disclosures are a cause for apprehension, given we have had disputed elections in the past. The opposition MDC-T has disputed the 2002, 2008 and the 2013 plebiscites citing the shambolic voters’ roll presided over by
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, Zanu PF use of violence and State security agencies.
If the 2018 elections are to be credible, Zec must clean up its act and put its house in order, as the controversies could dent its image and leave its credibility in tatters.
Although indications that the use of the biometric voter registration (BVR) had brought a glimmer of hope that sanity in the management of next year’s elections would prevail, emerging details show that Zanu PF will never reform itself out of power, and, hence, would keep its old trusted system of managing elections in place no matter what changes are made to the electoral system.
It boggles the mind why Zec chose to be silent on how the data collected from the BVR process would be stored, itself an integral part of the procedure. Zec must be warned that the electorate is watching. The voters have the Laxton Group, which won the tender to supply BVR kits, to thank for questioning the arrangement when the opposition seem to be at home with it. Clearly, Laxton’s line of thought is profit-driven yet decisive to the country’s contentious electoral governance system.
One wonders whether Zimbabwe has credible opposition parties after MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai appeared to endorse the BVR exercise with half-baked information. Should Zimbabweans trust these so-called opposition parties when they seem to lack the aptitude to disinter such barefaced indiscretions showing the 2018 polls could be nowhere near a fair vote?
The fact that Zec has no central system to manage, back up and collate the data or disaster recovery, sends chills down one’s spine. Essentially, this means the electoral system that they are supposed to preside over is open to manipulation particularly by those that control the server.
In essence, nothing has changed and the consequence is the playing field is still not level. And opposition parties keen to participate in the election are already handicapped.
It is up to opposition parties to demand a revisit of the whole system and agree on what needs to be done as a matter of urgency, as Zanu PF is to profit from the prevailing confusion.
Is it not unfortunate that Tsvangirai had already assented to the BVR system without paying particular attention to everything about it? Honour demands that Tsvangirai revisits his position now as the jury is still out on this issue. Should he lead the opposition into a likely disputed election, they are doomed, as Zanu PF already has a win in the pocket, as they have always claimed.
The opposition owes it to citizens to fight for democracy and ensure that Nikuv will not have anything to do with the elections otherwise this is no more than a dead rubber. Otherwise the identity of who the winner will be is a foregone conclusion.