THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is once again in the eye of the storm after a leaked internal memo written by an official, TM Sunduza, addressed to acting chief elections officer, Jane Chigidji revealed that the electoral body is excluding Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance from its crucial provincial stakeholder indabas at the behest of “the powers that be.”
ZEC started the meetings that were marred by chaos in Harare yesterday to review various electoral issues that include the electoral process, electoral reforms; the state of the voters roll, voter registration and preparations for the much-awaited delimitation exercise.
“Now that we have started planning for stakeholder engagements, what is our position on MDC Alliance? We are aware that they have taken us to court and the courts do not recognise them,” wrote Sunduza, concluding: “However, in the absence of a prompt response from the powers that be, we will not invite MDC Alliance to our provincial stakeholder meetings.”
The leaked memo puts paid to Zec’s pretence to independence, impartiality, transparency and fairness, and confirms the widely held public perception that the electoral body is subservient to “the powers that be.”
There is no need for a rocket scientist to tell who these powers are. Even a fool can tell that the military and Zanu PF run Zec. It explains why soldiers mounted roadblocks across Harare and caused mayhem at Zec offices yesterday to prevent the MDC Alliance from attending the meeting.
The leaked memo provides incontrovertible evidence that Zec is in wilful and brazen violation of section 235 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which requires it to be independent. Zec, according to the Constitution, should not be subject to the direction and control of anyone, but should act in accordance with the Constitution and exercise its functions without fear, favour or prejudice.
It is as staggering as it is preposterous that, while clearly acknowledging the existence of Chamisa’s MDC Alliance, Zec holds the controversial and scandalous view that “the courts do not recognise it (MDC Alliance).” This is despite the MDC Alliance, led by Chamisa who garnered over two million votes in the 2018 general elections, being the largest opposition party in the country.
The March 2020 Supreme Court case that precipitated the unprecedented recalls of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors had nothing to do with the recognition of the MDC Alliance by the courts or lack thereof. It was about the leadership of the MDC-T, which has since been controversially claimed by Douglas Mwonzora.
In short, there is no court decision or pending court case about the existence of the MDC Alliance since 2018, let alone in 2021.
The only issue in the air about Chamisa’s MDC Alliance is whether it will contest future elections under its current name and symbol; or it will change both; but this question is a bridge to be crossed by the party, not by Zec.
Given the leaked memo, Zec’s management and commissioners have compromised themselves beyond redemption. It is impossible for them to conduct free and fair elections and the noble thing they should do is to quit.