Zec printing duplicate ballot papers: Biti

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of attempting to steal the July 31 vote in favour of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said the Rita Makarau-led Zec was “deliberately engaging in errors of commission and omission” including the duplication of ballot papers, putting Mugabe’s party in a favourable position in the make-or-break poll.

Biti said MDC had been informed by inside sources of on-going cheating in the commission’s system.

“For the special vote, the serial numbers were from one to 100 000 and the next books now contain serials from 100 001,” Biti said.

“These are the sequences of the ballot papers; this is what they have done. What worries us now is that the ballot papers for the presidential and parliamentary have been printed at Fidelity Printers, the ballot papers for the local authorities are being printed at Printflow. 

But yesterday, now, according to our information, they printed additional papers on the 26th of July. What is of concern to us now is that they are now busy printing ballot papers with duplicate serial numbers particularly on the special vote.

“We have written to Zec and challenge them to provide the accurate thing so that what I have given you here can be discounted and can be proved to be illegitimate.”

Zec has rejected claims that it was cheating, registering concerns with the MDC complaints.

Biti said his party was  going to furnish Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), African Union (AU) and other observers with this new “rigging” evidence.

The AU on Friday said their long-term observer team had noted anomalies in the conducting of voter registration and special voting but said they were confident Zec was capable of running a credible election on July 31.

Tsvangirai, accused AU chairperson Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma of cushioning the truth as concerns rise that Zec will again spoil the general election as they did the special vote.

“What we do know from our sources; (illustrating) the first page shows the number of ballot books that were printed  which means every book has got 100 ballot papers which will give you 8 328 100 that on its own is problematic given the fact that there are six million people registered,” Biti said.

Biti said the duplicated ballot papers are meant to replace those cast on 14 and 15 July as several wards had not yet received them.

The Harare East Constituency candidate said Zec was refusing to release the final voters’ roll for meticulous voter inspection and withholding crucial information from contesting parties.

“With four days to go to the election, we don’t have a copy of the voters’ roll they are refusing to give us a copy of the voters’ roll, which was the final voters’ roll,” Biti said.

“I have dispatched our lawyers to file an application for us to get a copy of the voters’ roll. Even if we get it, how many days do we have to do the voter inspection?”

He added: “We are going to elections, the final list of polling stations has not been given out, this will be a challenge and prejudice  to political parties because right now we are working on 9 000 (polling stations) published provisionally. Suppose they increase them to 20 000, we then have to find 40 000 election agents to train and deploy in two days. These things are being done deliberately to ensure this election is stolen.”

With four days left to the harmonised elections, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has appealed to Zec to publish the final list of polling stations ahead of the polls to enable party agents and observer groups to deploy.

At a briefing for international, regional and local observers on Wednesday, Zec announced that the final list of polling stations would be published on the actual polling day.

Zesn said the last minute publishing of polling stations would make it problematic for stakeholders to engage with Zec to address any problems related to the distribution of the final list of polling stations.

“We urge Zec to release the final list in advance in the spirit of promoting transparency, credibility and the smooth running of the elections as this is also in line with good international practices,” said Zesn chairperson, Solomon Zwana.

Zesn encouraged Zec to ensure that polling stations are adequate to avoid long queues that may discourage potential voters from voting.

Comments (4)

The list will be made available on voting day? Serious????

gutter poet - 28 July 2013

"At a briefing for international, regional and local observers on Wednesday, Zec announced that the final list of polling stations would be published on the actual polling day". Only in Zimbabwe can this happen. Tipeiwo maserious mhani imi vanhu veZEC!!!!!

Vimbotee - 28 July 2013

Apparently ZEC and Zanu-PF do not bother about what happens AFTER rigging and announcement of results because court challenges will come to nothing. Can't the AU or SADC call for an emergency meeting to compel ZEC to handover the voters roll and announce polling stations. Zanu-PF does not care if MDC-T complaints after fraudulently declared winner.

Gondobwe - 28 July 2013

Fear not, fear not....the dictator will be put to bed next week.....

Mau Mau - 28 July 2013

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