HARARE - The governing Zanu PF party must begin showing sincerity to electoral reforms by retiring long-serving Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, the main opposition has said.
The 72-year-old has been in charge of all elections held in Zimbabwe since 1981 amid accusations of ballot fraud favouring President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.
“We are extremely concerned that the thoroughly discredited office of the Registrar-General, fronted by one Tobaiwa Mudede, is still actively involved in the voter registration exercise,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“Mudede has been the Registrar-General since 1981 and he is way past the civil service retirement age of 65.
“The last time I checked Mudede was approaching 80. His notorious and shameless record of assisting the Zanu PF regime to rig elections is very well-documented.”
While Mudede has previously denied allegations of falsifying voting records to ensure Mugabe remains in power, efforts to get his comment yesterday were fruitless as the Daily News was tossed back and forth before being asked to send questions in writing.
Meanwhile, the MDC has said it will take the reported 800 000 new voters said to have been registered with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) since the beginning of 2015, with a big shovel of salt.
“What is particularly striking is that these new voters are said to have registered in constituencies that recently held parliamentary by-elections,” Gutu said.
“We are surprised why such an apparently huge number of voters could have registered in only one year when Zec has never really undertaken a well-publicised national voter registration exercise.
“If ZBC has resources to beam live Grace (Mugabe)’s rallies why didn’t we have publicity blitz over all this.
“Thus, the MDC strongly suspects that the afore-mentioned voter registration was conducted in a very sinister and shadowy manner that betrays the intention of the Zanu PF regime to rig the 2018 general election.”
Gutu said Zec’s impartiality had been dragged into the mud by disputed polls of the past two decades and the Zec was in urgent need of wholesale changes.
“The shadowy and CIO-linked (Zec) secretariat that is presently working behind the scenes for Zec should be immediately dismantled and disbanded,” Gutu said.
“Zec should actually commence a fresh and brand new national biometric voter registration exercise.
“The national data base is already in existence and surely, working with capable technical partners such as the UNDP, it should be pretty easy for the Zec to conduct a fresh and credible biometric national voter registration exercise.”
With the impartiality and independence of Zec in doubt, it is difficult if not impossible for Zimbabwe to hold free and fair elections that can pass the test of legitimacy, the opposition said.