'Zim poised for shambolic elections'

BULAWAYO - The ruling MDC parties say Zimbabwe is poised for a shambolic election on July 31 due to failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to efficiently conduct the just-ended two-day special vote.

The commission’s lack of preparedness has cast doubt over its ability to hold a credible election, with political parties predicting chaos. Thousands of the uniformed forces failed to vote forcing Zec to harmonise the special voting and with the general vote on July 31.

Tabitha Khumalo, Bulawayo South aspiring candidate for Tsvangirai’s MDC,  told journalists at a press club last week that the forthcoming elections are likely to be as chaotic as the special vote.

“The special vote was a shame. Expect chaos in the next election,” Khumalo said, adding that Zimbabweans should expose any fraud as it is reported that illegible voters participated in special vote.

She alleged that the chaos in the special vote was deliberately meant to rig the elections.

“But I pray that it will not be as shambolic as it was because Zec seems clueless of what they are supposed to do,” the MDC stalwart said.

Zimbabweans go to the make-or-break elections on July 31  to end five years of a dysfunctional GNU cobbled up after a disputed 2008 run-off election.

Welshman Ncube’s MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said Zimbabwe should not rush for an election which it is not prepared for.

“Zec is unprepared because they don’t have the money. Looking at the special vote, it shows that Zec was ill-prepared. The question is why then should we rush for an election when the playing field is not level?” Dube said.

“If the whole Zec machinery failed to cope with the special vote and even went to the extent of extending the period to the July 31, what Zimbabweans should ask themselves whether the 31st   poll will extended by another month.”

Dube said there will be chaos if Zec does not get adequate financial resources to hold the watershed elections.

“The reality is that there will be chaos. From what we have seen where we are going it is very worrying,” he said.

The two MDC factions disputed the July 31 date, but President Robert Mugabe declaration carried the day after the Constitutional Court upheld his decree.

Other parties contesting in the elections say the political playing field is not level. Zapu alternate secretary general Strike Mkandla said the GPA failed to harmonise the repressive laws which would have ensured a level playing field.

“The playing field is definitely not level, by design and by default.

The GPA roadmap was not completed in terms of the harmonisation of the laws which ensures freedom of assembly.

It’s not fair given that we are still in a very restrictive environment even for those who are in government,” Mkandla said.

“There are so many political parties, but you hardly hear about them. But if it was possible to expand the media, it would have been a much more interesting contest,” he added.

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