The ruling Zanu PF party yesterday sought to wash its hands of the furore surrounding the refusal by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to include the opposition MDC Alliance party in stakeholder meetings on electoral developments.
Zec last week invited other political parties to provincial meetings to discuss, among other issues, the legal framework, the electoral cycle, voter registration, delimitation and the polling process in preparation for future elections, but excluded the MDC Alliance, citing a non-existent court challenge over the use of the name and also “absence of guidance from powers that be”.
The opposition party took the commission’s position to mean that Zanu PF and the military were meddling in its operations.
Zanu PF director for information Tafadzwa Mugwadi yesterday rubbished the claims that they influenced Zec’s position to bar the MDC Alliance from participating in the meetings.
“It is not shocking and surprising when the MDC Alliance says those things. For the entire duration of their existence, they have been chasing shadows,” Mugwadi told NewsDay.
“They see Zanu PF everywhere. It is not by mistake because we are the popular party. We are also popular among them, and that is why if they have differences, they quickly point fingers at Zanu PF.
“It is not unusual. We are used to that and they should brace themselves for a thundering defeat in 2023. As Zanu PF, we don’t believe that winning elections is on the basis of raising a cocktail and encyclopedia of complaints to Zec. That is not our approach to elections. Our approach is rooted in the people, and we are among the people. That is where our strategies exist, simple as that,” Mugwadi added.
Zec is under fire for its links with Zanu PF and the military, amid a public outcry that the electoral body also lacked independence.
Last week, Zec chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana claimed no one had been left behind in the stakeholders meetings, but the commission’s deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe had earlier confirmed to NewsDay that the MDC Alliance was not invited.
The MDC Alliance has, over the years, blamed Zec for electoral fraud, citing the 2008 elections. Zec delayed announcing the results claiming “meticulous verification” before declaring MDC-T candidate, the late Morgan Tsvangirai the winner, but without a 50% plus one vote win required for him to assumed the reins.
This then forced the country to go for a violent run-off election, and Tsvangirai pulled out after hundreds of his supporters were maimed or killed in a wave of terror unleashed by the late former President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party. The electoral commission was also accused of abetting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s win in the 2018 elections which were disputed by the opposition.
Zec has also been accused by the opposition, civil society and other groupings, of working with Zanu PF to block the holding of by-elections necessitated by the recall of MDC Alliance MPs by the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T.