27 April 2018

Zimbabwe: 2018 Polls Can't Be Rigged - Chigumba

Photo: The Herald
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba.

This year's elections cannot be rigged as the country's voting system is foolproof, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said. ZEC yesterday challenged anyone who could prove otherwise to step forward. In an interview at the electoral body's Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) stand, ZEC chairwoman Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the fact of the system being tamper-proof should ensure a free, fair and credible election that could not be rigged.

She said ZEC was committed to providing a credible election through its 100 percent secure biometric voter registration (BVR) system.

BVR is a new voter registration system which captures an individual's biometric features and ensures nobody can vote twice.

"The BVR system is tamper-proof for the simple reason that the data that we collected is housed in something called the consolidation server. The consolidation server contains the master server that contains all the information and we then have other servers which we are using to connect that data. Those servers have very strict protection files. They are very strict un-hackable access level passwords that are tamper-free," said Justice Chigumba.

She said members of the public with evidence that the voting system could be interfered with should bring it forward.

"And I can assure Zimbabwean voters, if any Zimbabwean or any other person who has information that ZEC is involved in practices which might be viewed as tampering with that data base, can they bring that evidence to us," she said.

Justice Chigumba said she would not embroil herself in rigging allegations levelled against zanu-pf by MDC Alliance presidential candidate Advocate Nelson Chamisa.

Last weekend Adv Chamisa told a rally in Nyanga that if the MDC Alliance did not win the coming elections, that would be proof the ruling party had rigged them.

He, however, failed to substantiate his claims.

Justice Chigumba said she could not comment on rigging allegations made for political grandstanding.

"I don't want to comment directly on what political parties have said about other political parties. But I can assure the Zimbabwean voters that ZEC is doing and has done its level best to ensure its data is safe," said Justice Chigumba.

Opposition parties have in the past used the rigging mantra as a fig leaf after being walloped by Zanu-PF.

Already, MDC Alliance is developing cold feet ahead of the coming elections threatening to boycott the polls or stage demonstrations if some terms are not met.

President Mnangagwa has repeatedly assured the world that the harmonised elections, expected to be held in July this year, would be free, fair and credible.

The Government has invited observers from all over the world to see for themselves, with President Mnangagwa declaring repeatedly that "Zimbabwe has nothing to hide".

Western countries like the UK and US that were barred by the previous administration have also been invited this year, including Commonwealth representatives.

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