HARARE - Election officials, security personnel and officers in diplomatic missions cast their ballots through postal voting tomorrow, amid escalating worry over vote rigging.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and shadowy Facebook character Baba Jukwa have unveiled a well-orchestrated plot to steal the special vote through outright lies, alleged inflation of figures and claims that commanders will be able to tell how officers voted.
Baba Jukwa yesterday morning claimed that special voting is in fact starting today, not tomorrow.
“All opposition parties can you monitor this, it seems Zec is conniving with (names withheld) and crew,” Baba Jukwa wrote.
“The public is told that Sunday is day of voting, but our internal Vapunduki Intelligence Organisation (VIO) that cops will start voting tomorrow.
“On Sunday and Monday they will be voting for the second time and I hope those cops will overwhelmingly teach these evil (name withheld) a lesson they will never forget.
“To hell with him and don’t protect his ill-gotten health or continue making sure that his family enjoy life in Australia.”
Baba Jukwa urged observers to closely monitor the special vote.
“Now my concern is Sadc, AU observers and all party representatives open your eyes open, voting starts tomorrow,” Baba Jukwa said yesterday.
In a daily blizzard of posts, Baba Jukwa has waged an infuriated information war against Zanu PF, a party of which he claims to be a member.
His prediction of Zanu PF legislator Edward Chindori-Chininga’s demise made him even more popular among Zimbabweans, who are desperate for change come the next elections.
Though Zanu PF has rubbished Baba Jukwa’s exposés, his seemingly accurate predictions have rattled the rank and file in the former ruling party.
Of more than 235 000 Baba Jukwa followers, more than 166 943 locals are now following him which translates to 71 percent.
In a Baba Jukwa distribution of fans table, the mole claims he has 43 081 followers in South Africa, 5 633 in the UK, Botswana 2 625, United States 1 508, Australia 1 259, Namibia 1 093, Mozambique 611 while Zambia has 508 followers.
Postal voting is a process where voters cast their ballots by post in advance to ensure that voters who are unable to attend their designated polling stations on the day of elections are allowed to vote early.
The MDC also expressed alarm yesterday: “As MDC we are worried over reports that some police officers are being told that their vote is being screened somewhere,” MDC national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said.
“Let it be known by every police officer that their vote is a secret and they should not be fooled.”
Chamisa told the Daily News that junior police officers should not succumb to intimidation by their bosses.
“We are watching the game. Soon we will expose those who are busy fooling themselves on elections. We want only regular police officers (for special voting) who are on government payroll,” said Chamisa.
During the 2008 disputed poll, members of the uniformed forces complained that they were forced to vote under supervision of their superiors at army camps or police stations.
Rita Makarau, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, has said polling stations for special voting are going to be moved away from barracks.
Over 87 000 requests of special votes have been received for diplomatic missions, police, army and prison guards, with police requesting 69 000 ballots, according to the Zec.
But MDC secretary-general Biti said over 120 000 ballots have been requested.
He said there was need to verify whether the people who are going to vote tomorrow are legit.
“So we have written to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to say prove to us that they are civil servants, number two prove to us that they’re actually going to be deployed on election day because the law requires that two things be shown that you’re a serving member of the force.
Special vote is a privilege not a right otherwise you should queue with us on 31 July,” Biti told the Daily News.
“So to get that privilege of voting before others, you must show that you are a member of the special force and two, you must show that you are actually going to be deployed so those things are areas of contestation so we are going to challenge that.”
Biti, whose ministry is responsible for the salaries of civil servants, said there were 32 000 officers eligible yet there was a request for 120 000 ballots.
“For soldiers and police 120 000 special votes have been applied for but in 2008 we had 5 000,” Biti said.
“At the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zimbabweans who are working in embassies around the world who have the right to vote using postal voting in 2008 there were less than 4 000 postal votes. In total 120 000 votes have been applied for, because they have a thieving spirit.
“Over 5 000 prison guards have applied for special votes, but these don’t need special votes,” he said.
“But to those I say when you get in those ballot boxes, your votes are your secrets, it will be you and your problems alone in that box,” he said.
Biti said this would be the most critical election of this generation as it signified an end to a crisis.
Makarau told civil society leaders on Wednesday: “We are relying on the information that we have from the police that all the applicants are members of the uniformed police. They have given us their names, force numbers and EC numbers and that information will say they are all members of the police force."
“But remember you will be observing the elections, so you will see these men and women in the queue as they cast their vote in public,” she said.