18 June 2018

Zimbabwe: ZEC to Allow Scrutiny of Ballot Paper - Parties Can Also Observe Printing Process

AFTER relentless pressure from political parties, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has agreed to allow contestants to scrutinise the July 30 election ballot paper as well as observe its printing process.

Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre last Friday, ZEC commissioner Qhubani Moyo said although the law allows ZEC to exclusively procure and print the paper, the election agency has decided to involve political parties in the process following an outcry over the transparency and security of the process.

"What I would tell you is that as a means of compromise and to minimise conflict that was arising, the commission has decided to invite political parties contesting the elections to come and observe the process of printing the ballot paper. They will be allowed to test the paper," said Moyo.

In addition, political parties will also be allowed to analyse the ballot paper to establish whether it could have been tempered with.

"Political parties will be allowed to use their experts in Chromatography to see whether the paper allows for migration of an X from candidate A to candidate B.

"We will run an exercise where we will give them (political parties) a paper and let them put an X on candidate A.

"The paper is going to be put in a place where it will be guarded for 12 hours and we want to see whether the following day the X would have migrated," said commissioner Moyo.

According to a dossier compiled by the MDC after the 2013 elections, Zanu PF hired an Israeli firm, Nikuv to spearhead, control and direct rigging operations through working with ZEC.

The report claims that part of the rigging included the use of chromatography ballot paper during the elections.

Moyo said following allegations of bias during previous elections, ZEC is determined to run free and fair elections.

"We want to make sure that we minimise all those areas of conflict and myths that had been created which made people to believe that the commission has crooks and that the commission has people that are not credible.

"Surely, when you look at me do you see a crook? I am a very honest guy whose duty is to do what is in the constitution."

Moyo defended the calibre of the 23 presidential aspirants saying every eligible Zimbabwean citizen has a right to contest the elections.

"The sad thing though is that we hear vibes that most of the 23 candidates are fake candidates.

"Some people believe that the office of the president is a preserve of certain individuals. They do not believe that someone among you who is not known can stand up and contest any office.

"When you do it, they say you are sponsored to create and divide some votes. You can feel anger among certain individuals that some people have put their names forward.

"I think we need just to accept that any Zimbabwean who meets the requirements can file their papers."

Some politicians including MDC Alliance principal, Tendai Biti have described some of the presidential aspirants as unfit for the job.

Biti singled out musician, Brain Taurai Mteki and former energy minister Elton Mangoma as some of the candidates who are unfit for the country's top job.

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