OPPOSITION political parties have hailed Priscilla Chigumba’s appointment as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson and urged her to stamp her authority by nipping political violence in the bud.
BY SILAS NKALA/NQOBANI NDLOVU
MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi said Chigumba’s appointment came as parties such as Zanu PF were violating sections of the Electoral Act.
“We are calling on Justice Chigumba to loudly read the riot act to political criminals that are moving door to door demanding voter registration slips and stealing in the name of Zec and Zanu PF if the two organisations are not linked to these criminals. Vote-buying by councillors and traditional leaders should now be stopped if President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to deliver credible, free and fair elections,” he said.
“However, the MDC is still waiting for President Mnangagwa to make public the circumstances that led to the resignation of Justice Rita Makarau from the same position that has now been occupied by Justice Chigumba. We are calling on Mnangagwa to disclose reasons behind Makarau resignation.”
Chigumba was sworn in last week to take over from former chairperson, Rita Makarau, who resigned soon after Mnangagwa took over from Robert Mugabe.
Complaints have escalated that suspected Zanu PF activists and traditional leaders are forcing the registered electorate to submit their biometric voter registration slips serial numbers for unclear reasons.
Zec and the Zimbabwe Republic Police have said that the practice borders on criminality and those caught on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with accordingly.
Zapu spokeperson, Iphithule Maphosa accused the military and Zanu PF supporters of orchestrating violence in rural areas.
“We are worried by the continued intimidation of would be voters by Zanu PF and the military. We have received reports in Nkayi where the soldiers are on the loose in the area. We call on all political parties and Zec to collectively agree on a position where punitive measures are attached to such unruly behaviour by some political parties,” he said.
Maphosa said the electoral code of conduct for political parties should be revised.
“Currently, the code of conduct between Zec and political parties does not have any agreed form of punishment for breaking electoral laws. If it means barring a party from contesting so be it. We cannot continue allowing our people to be terrorised by parties who will do anything to win an election,” he said.
Amos Chibaya, Election Resource Centre spokesperson, said his organisation is worried about acts of intimidation that are rife in the country, with some traditional leaders and party activists collecting serial numbers of citizens that would have registered to vote.
“The acts threaten the constitutional right of Zimbabweans to freely participate as enshrined on section 67 of the Constitution. In addition, the acts also are against the international standards guiding voter registration such as accessibility .comprehensive, credibility and inclusivity,” he said.