Voice of America (Washington, DC)

30 July 2013

Zimbabwe: Security Sector Agents Take Over Election Process

Six-million Zimbabweans have reportedly registered to cast their vote in the country's general elections on Wednesday. ( Resource: Contentious Zimbabwe Elections Draw Millions of Voters

Harare — The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday claimed that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been relegated to mere spectators by state security agents that the party says are now in charge of Wednesday's national elections.

Addressing a news conference at his party's Harvest House headquarters, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the electoral commission has already failed in its mandate to run the polls in a credible manner.

With only a few hours before the elections, Mr. Mwonzora said the prime minister was yet to get access to the voters roll.

ZEC announced Monday that the roll was now ready to be accessed through the Registrar General's Office. But the MDC-T says they are still to access the voters' register that critics say is littered with irregularities.

Mwonzora also claimed that his party has received information that inhabitants of Nketa and Nkulumane constituencies in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, would be required to cast their ballots in both areas

He said this was being done deliberately to disenfranchise people, especially those living in urban areas.

Due to these and other irregularities, Mr. Mwonzora said it is now clear to the MDC-T that state security agents are now in charge of the running of Wednesday's elections.

ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau could not be reached for comment as she was said to be attending a meeting with representatives of political parties.

Meanwhile, Mwonzora claimed that Zanu PF is using chiefs and other traditional leaders to force villagers in the countryside to vote for the former revolutionary party.

VOA Studio 7 failed to get comment from the president of the Chiefs Council, Fortune Charumbira and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.

Mwonzora also accused the intelligentsia of interfering with mobile and internet communication systems ahead of the elections.

Several people failed to communicate for the better part of Tuesday as the mobile networks were congested.

Despite all these claims, Mwonzora said his party remains confident that it will romp to victory in the polls.

He urged his party's supporters to go out in large numbers to cast their ballots, asking them to be patient if they find themselves in long queues.

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