Zec attracts public scorn after ‘most transparent’ comment

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Jasper Mangwana

BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO/HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has attracted public scorn after its spokesperson Jasper Mangwana claimed that Zimbabwe had one of the most transparent electoral systems in the world.

Zec has been under the spotlight for the wrong reasons after the electoral management body failed to explain discrepancies uncovered in the voters roll by data analysts.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mangwana compared Zimbabwe’s electoral systems to those of Botswana and Gambia, which use metal ballot boxes.

“Botswana uses metal boxes for their elections. But credibility issues are not raised. I imagine if Zimbabwe used these metals and not the translucent boxes, what narrations would we have? Zimbabwe has one of the most transparent electoral systems in the world,” Mangwana tweeted.

Yesterday, Zec commissioner Joyce Kazembe insisted that the voters roll with discrepancies was leaked, before saying social media trolls wanted to tarnish their image.

“There are people on social media that are there to discredit the operations of Zec for whatever reasons that we don’t know,” Kazembe said during an interface with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information and Media.

“How do you entice employees of an organisation (Zec) to actually leak documents to you unless there is a sinister agenda? That document was leaked in its very raw form when we were still in the process of registering people and it had not yet been cleaned.”

But Zimbabwe Christian Alliance executive director Useni Sibanda said  Zec had failed the credibility test.

“The issue we need to appreciate is that people in Botswana trust their independent commission to the extent that even if it uses tin boxes, people still trust it, while in Zimbabwe, although Zec uses translucent boxes, people don’t trust it,” Sibanda said.

Elections Resource Centre programmes manager Solomon Bobosibunu said: “A wholesome comparative will be important. Zec must engage its stakeholders in a sincere manner, just like the commissions which are running elections with metal ballot boxes.”

Heal Zimbabwe Trust research and advocacy officer Edknowledge Mandikwaza said the transparency of any electoral body could not be measured by the type of ballot boxes used.

“Electoral transparency is about concerned parties accessing the voters roll upon request, and Zimbabweans being able to register to vote, accessing polling stations without challenges and having their names on the voters roll,” Mandikwaza said.

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