by DANAI MWARUMBA & MERCY MUJURU
HARARE, (CAJ News) – TENSIONS are escalating in Zimbabwe two weeks ahead of its watershed elections.
This is after the main opposition called on the international community to intervene to rescue what it believes will be an undemocratic exercise.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, led by Nelson Chamisa, appealed to the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) to step in following the controversy around the ballot papers.
Chamisa has since written to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the current SADC chairman, airing the party’s grievances.
“We will not take anything lying down. We will not accept a ballot paper
that is not to our satisfaction. If we are to agree to an election, we
must have a ballot paper printed according to the law.,” Chamisa said at a press conference in Harare.
He declared the polls had been plunged into a stalemate and crisis.
“We cannot have an election when we don’t know where the ballot paper is, who has printed it and its quality. I have no evidence that the ballot
paper was printed in Zimbabwe. That makes it a very serious matter,”
The ballot papers controversy is among issues raised by MDC to allege bias by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Its chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, and officers are said to be
members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
Siom Khaya-Moyo, ZANU-PF spokesman scoffed at MDC allegations and downplayed their appeals.
“It is not our responsibility to direct Chamisa on who to write letters or
send envoys to. He can write to anyone, including hell for all we care,”
He expressed confidence in measures initiated by president Emmerson
Mnangagwa to ensure credible polls.
Reforms include the invitation of international observers from the West.
These were barred by the deposed administration of Robert Mugabe.
Some observers differed with MDC.
“So far, the campaign has been free and fair. Chances are high Zimbabwe, for the first time, will have credible elections,” said an AU observer.
A monitor from SADC welcomed the prevailing peaceful atmosphere.
“The peaceful environment will enable free and fair polls. Most
importantly, Zimbabwe invited all observers to its election,” he said.
– CAJ News