Senators in war of words over Zec

HARARE - Zanu PF and MDC senators were on Wednesday embroiled in a war of words over the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s operations.

Senators from the ruling party were backing Zec while those from opposition argued the Commission was being used by the ruling Zanu PF to rig 2018 elections.

“According to our view, Zec is rigging elections before we start this voting process,” MDC Midlands senator Morgen Komichi said.

“If Zec purports to be independent, it should be talking to political parties and agree on the number of registration points,” he said, adding “if it holds such meetings, there is going to be an agreement among the people”.

Komichi said Zec should put equal voter registration points in all provinces.

“I know people may talk of geographical setup in those areas and they may say in the urban areas the geographical set up may be small. I would want to argue and say that while geographical setup in urban centres is small, their population is big.

“There is also a huge activity in the towns as people spend most of their time fending for  themselves, seeking employment or any other ways of living, hence the density of the population is very high.”

Bulawayo MDC senator Siphiwe Ncube weighed in saying Zec is representing certain individuals interests and is biased.

“When I look at this issue, it is really painful especially to the opposition political parties in this country,” she said.

“Who is Zec and who are the people in Zec who are responsible for the registration and the voting? If you look at the composition of the staff at Zec, these people are not independent.

“They are not free people. It is just the same as if I am standing here. I am senator Siphiwe Ncube and I represent my party. I am here because of a party that brought me here. This is what we are talking about. Who is Zec, who are the people in Zec, what are their positions and who are they representing?” Ncube questioned.

“Now we are in the middle of the year and we are talking about elections that we will be facing next year. Registration has not started and we do not know exactly what is happening. Where are we going?

“We got independence and we were saying we are now in Zimbabwe but we are not free. If we cannot correct things that pertain to us as human beings, it means that our being here is pointless.”

This comes as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai recently warned that President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF — fearful of receiving an even bigger poll shellacking than 2008’s — were allegedly already working feverishly to steal next year’s elections.

However, Zanu PF Manicaland senator Shadreck Chipanga rubbished the claims saying Zec is an independent body.

“It is now in our people’s minds that even if Zec is good at anything, if I did not win, it means they do not know what they are doing.  I think it is also affecting the operations of Zec. If they do well, they will be condemned and if they do not do well they will still be condemned.  So, why not bring in ideas pointing out where Zec is going wrong?” he argued.

“I also want to raise an issue on the independence of Zec.  It comprises judges who would have been appointed by the president but what cushions them and protects them is that they do not lose their jobs and their money does not come from Treasury but it comes from the same bag as the Judges, hence they are not afraid of anybody.

He further said: “We are already complaining that we are losing before we have even voted.  I have heard someone saying that if we go to elections in 2018, I am not going to concede to the results before we have even started the registration process. What if we start voter registration and vote, what are we going to say then? People only want to win and then they will say the elections were fair.”

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