Zec, opposition in bitter fallout

HARARE - The strained relationship between the country’s distrustful opposition and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) sank to an all-time low yesterday when the parties called for the immediate resignation of its chairperson, Rita Makarau, as well as the disbandment of the elections management body itself.

The call came after Makarau stormed out of a heated meeting with the opposition to discuss much-needed electoral reforms and the planned procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits ahead of the make-or-break 2018 national elections.

The usually calm Makarau blew a gasket after she was incensed by myriad allegations that were thrown her way by opposition parties coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) — which she in turn accused of denigrating her and engaging in negotiations via the media.

“Because we are beginning to feel that our engagements are misunderstood, we believe it is time for Zec to go back to the drawing board and see how best we can engage with you.

"This platform is not working and accordingly there will be no meeting today,” Makarau told stunned opposition officials who had turned out for the meeting in Harare called by Zec.

“You thought we had called you to intimidate you not into demonstrating. We want to give you our assurances that we have not called you to intimidate you from doing anything. We called you to dialogue, but you do not want to dialogue with us in good faith.

“This meeting is aborted and I am asking everybody within Zec to please follow me outside,” Makarau said before walking out of her meeting.

The gathering temporarily degenerated into chaos as the opposition unsuccessfully tried to prevent her and her team from leaving.

Subsequently, the parties sent members of the steering committee to Makarau’s office to try and reason with her, where more drama ensued.

As the members of the steering committee were negotiating with her, some opposition parties drew up resolutions which included calling for the disbandment of Zec and the resignation of Makarau.

Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) senior official, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, expressed his dismay to the Daily News about the way the lead-up to 2018 was happening.

“We have reflected thoroughly. Zec is not genuine in dealing with us. We are dancing to Makarau’s tune.

"All our discussions are subject to Makarau’s conditions. We no longer want this rhetoric and diplomacy tactics being played by Makarau.

“We are declaring a stalemate and an electoral crisis. We don’t want Zec being led by Makarau. They (Zec) have no capacity to lead,” the fuming Bhasikiti said.

Another opposition official, Clemence Tabatapashi Nhliziyo of the Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (Dare), also expressed his disappointment at Makarau’s decision to call off yesterday’s meeting.

“Our role as stakeholders is to make sure there is a free, fair and credible election in 2018. In that pursuance, we can never abdicate our constitutional right to demand an independent and professional Zec.

“Zec did not walk away from Zanu PF interference with the BVR procurement system, but tacitly complied with a Zanu PF directive.

"It must be beyond any doubt that the government of Zimbabwe, as presently constituted by Zanu PF, cannot be allowed to impose a roadmap to the 2018 elections.

"We were prepared to engage Zec in the political parties’ dialogue platform of the proposed committees and we are aware that Zanu PF has forced ... Makarau to abort the engagement through today’s stage-managed walkout.

"We cannot be stopped and in fact Zec has only but exposed itself as a Zanu PF front,” Nhliziyo said.

Yesterday’s meeting had been called by Zec to try and heal the rift caused by the government’s sidelining of the UNDP in the procurement of the BVR kits.

The opposition has alleged that the government is hijacking the process to rig next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

Comments (10)

If Rita is not fully aware that she is paid by us, taxpayers, I wonder who she thinks she is. Taxpayers, not "appointing authorities" are the biggest stakeholders. When they're fed up the whole system will crumble. The farms, houses, cars, LCD TVs etc will mean, or be reduced to, nothing. ZEC was complicit in fraud she thinks we've forgotten that?

Sagitarr - 22 March 2017

I shudder to even think that Rita is a top judge considering the way she behaved.Its so crystal clear that she pandering to the whims of the mafia party,Zanu pf.She paraded her deep lack of integrity and partiality for everyone who cares to see by walking out from the meeting unprovoked by hiding behind burnt bushes accusing the opposition parties of misunderstanding their engagements with them.You are basically being used to convey messages from zanu pf to the opposition which is totally unacceptable since ZEC must be an independent institution. You should not be dictating things to the opposition parties,but engage them fairly and with a mutual objective to make the electoral field a free and fair turf for all teams to display their political skills.In this case you are only but siding with the mafia party ,reffereing the match and kicking and scoring the ball for zanu pf.Its a big SHAME!

Janana wa Bikaz - 22 March 2017

Rita we don't fear a scare-crow you hear me!!. We are not going to move an inch from our decision about reforms and bvr kits. We don't need you there better you resign even now. There is no reason to trust you at all

Facts - 22 March 2017

Yes JANNANA that is true. She was appointed in not by qualifications, she belongs to the mafia party. Rita time is up remember, you need to lift up your eyes.

Facts - 22 March 2017

that stinky woman must be kicked off from that crucial post. oppsition must not enter into elections led by Zanu election commision ZEC. WE HAVE BEEN WATCHING YOU MAKARAU MANJE THIS TIME HAUBUDIRIRE. WAJAIRA TSIKA YAKAIPA RITA . HATIZI MAPENZI WE KNOW YOU AND YOUR MOTIVES.

mugido - 22 March 2017

Rita like the rest of bigwigs singing for her supper

SL - 22 March 2017

Haa vakonewa basa amai ava. She think she will reach 90 years as the chairperson well the bell has already rang. Obvious issue is that she did what she was told to do by the dictators in authority

mkanya - 22 March 2017

shame shame

vchigonga - 23 March 2017

ZEC is a Mugabe's creation.They do as Mugabe wishes. In Zimbabwe we might have credible elections post Mugabe era.As long as he is still calling the shorts in Zimbabwe a free and fair election is all but a fantasy.Ambuya Makarau vanotomunamata mudhara iyeyu.

chimuti - 23 March 2017

Funny that an anagram of makaura is, ...Makarau. kkkkkkkk

Sharia - 23 March 2017

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