THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is complicit in the continued rigging of polls by the ruling Zanu PF party, a local think-tank has said.
Following the Hurungwe-West by-election fiasco in which ZEC has admitted to allowing MP elect Keith Guzah of Zanu PF to contest and claim victory even though he was registered in another constituency, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) says the admission exposed the extent of poll manipulation in the country.
“The administrative manner under which ZEC conducted the Hurungwe West by--election exposes the extent of electoral manipulation in Zimbabwe where the electoral management body tasked with administering an election cannot follow the law which explicitly states that a candidate should be a registered voter in the constituency they wish to contest,” said ZDI.
“The conduct of ZEC in Hurungwe West on 10 June 2015, points to the complicity of the electoral management body and Zanu PF in the rigging of elections in Zimbabwe”.
ZDI added that the inconsistencies and controversies mainly in ZEC’s explanation “is a microcosm of a bigger and deeper credibility and lack of transparency associated with ZEC’s management of elections in Zimbabwe”.
ZDI said ZEC was stuffed with Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives as evidenced by the calibre of its “staffers whose history can be traced to the president’s office”.
The group gave as examples new chief elections officer Constance Chigwamba, and her predecessor, the late Lovemore Sekeramayi, as testimony to the “conflation between the state and electoral institutions”.
“ZEC’s conduct has reduced Zimbabwe into a competitive electoral authoritarian regime where elections are a means by which the regime tries to reproduce itself.
Under this scenario, the electoral context, environment and administration are crafted to deliver a pre-determined outcome of regime retention and continuity”.