Battle lines drawn as Nelson Chamisa gives ZEC 24-hour deadline, thousands of Zimbabweans to pitch tents at ZEC offices.
THE MDC-T and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has threatened to mobilise the opposition party’s supporters to picket at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) head office starting tomorrow until July 30 if the electoral management body fails to address their demands for transparency in the printing of ballot material by end of business
MDC Alliance co-principal Tendai Biti confirmed the development yesterday, saying they had started mobilising mobile toilets and tents for the thousands of opposition supporters expected to participate in the vigil.
“We will be leading from the front, we will be living on the streets. We are not going to allow this election to be stolen. They can kill us. We are prepared to die for free, fair and credible elections. We have given Zec a deadline and if they don’t address the issues raised in the petition by Monday, then we will be living on the streets,” Biti said.
“We have said this over and over again, there will be no voting. Some people talk about us boycotting the election, I don’t know where they get that. We are not boycotting, there will be no election.”
Addressing supporters at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo yesterday, Chamisa insisted that there would be no elections if Zec does not meet his grouping’s key demands — transparency in the printing of the ballot papers and security of the votes.
“We have to agree on the ballot paper. We say no to a bond ballot, a fake ballot which is pre-determined, but we want a ballot that we all agree on. So Zec is joking when it says they have finished printing the ballot paper. We say to hell with that. We are going to the poll after agreeing on a proper ballot paper,” he said.
MDC-T deputy treasurer-general Charlton Hwende said they were planning to hire 500 mobile toilets for use during their protest at the Zec headquarters in downtown Harare.
“Companies renting mobile toilets, please get in touch urgently looking for 500 mobile toilets,” Hwende said in a Facebook post yesterday.
He also threatened to mobilise for disruption of elections at all the 10 895 polling stations on election day if Zec does not give in to their demands.
“If our demands are not met on the 30th of July at all the 11 000 polling stations (sic), no voting will take place.
The only election that will ever take place in Zimbabwe will be a free and fair one. 2013 was the last disputed election. Going forward, the (sic) vote of the people will count,” Hwende said.
This came amid reports that Zec had agreed to a meeting with the youthful opposition leader and other opposition parties, under the auspices of the multi-party liaison committee to iron out their differences.
“We respectfully advise that the full Zec has agreed that your requests are best dealt with at our multi-party liaison committee in order to build consensus with the other political parties that are going to the election,” Zec’s acting chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said in a recent letter to Chamisa’s chief election agent, Jameson Timba.
“In the absence of a legal framework to guide us on how best to accommodate your request, a consensus approach is the next best alternative.”
The MDC Alliance threats set a grand stage for civil unrest ahead of an election which is at the heart of Zimbabwe re-joining the international community of nations.
But Zanu PF deputy legal secretary Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana dismissed the opposition threats as “inconsequential”.
“Does the MDC have a country or they are just a political party that is in a country which has a government? They cannot tell this nation what it can and cannot do. They are one of the 55 political parties participating in an election. So where do they get the authority to do declarations as if they are the ruling party?” he asked rhetorically.
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