What does Zec have to hide?

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AS the general elections draw closer, it is increasingly becoming clear Zimbabwe is not ready for the polls despite what Zanu PF officials and their state media hacks would have us believe.

The Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

President Robert Mugabe, his sycophants — who survive by clinging on his political coat-tails — and grovelling state media journalists who know the truth, but want to railroad the country into chaotic elections for their narrow self-serving ends.

This has always been the strategy: Mugabe and his genuflecting Fifth Columnists will do everything to subvert the people’s will by denying them the right to participate in free and fair elections run by professional and impartial electoral institutions and officials before stealing the result.

How do elections become credible when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), Registrar-General (RG)’s Office, bureaucrats, judges and state security forces, mainly the military, are so shamelessly partisan? Why is Mugabe and Zanu PF, as well as their cronies, afraid of free and fair elections? If they are popular, as they would have us believe, why not allow people to register and vote without hindrance in line with the constitution and laws of this country, as well as the Sadc and international norms?

This brings us to the Zec issue. The Harare-based think tank, Research and Advocacy Unit (Rau), has unearthed serious irregularities in the voters’ roll and wanted to launch the findings of its detailed audit. This comes in the wake of its preliminary report released on July 5.

However, Rau was this week forced to cancel the launch because the RG’s Office — which works with Zec and shadowy Israeli intelligence company Nikuv International on voter registration — rushed to get a High Court interdict to stop the event. This was despite the fact that the RG’s Office and Zec were informed and thus knew what Rau was doing.

The reason, however, is not hard to find. Rau wanted to announce that the voters’ roll is deeply flawed because two million potential voters aged under 30 are unregistered; one million people on the roll are either deceased or departed; 63 constituencies have more registered voters than inhabitants and 41 constituencies deviate from the average number of voters per constituency by more than the permitted 20%, among many miscellaneous discrepancies.

Judges came into the mix again amid Rau protests that the court order for an interdict was granted and the application admitted and decided on yet the certificate of urgency, which is part of the court application, was not signed as is required by law. Rau says it finds it unprocedural and an abuse of the justice system and court process the fact that it was not served with the application when it was filed, meaning it only received it at the same time as the order for an interdict.

Judges, as shown by the elections date case, have been playing a partisan role in the electoral process, mainly since the 2002 presidential election in a scandalous way. Elections can’t be free and fair in an environment where conditions are not remotely free and fair.

What is happening is really a huge disservice to democracy. But the real question here is: what is Zec afraid of? What does it have to hide?

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