Zimbabwe Elections boss Priscillah Chigumba speaks

June 19, 2018
| Report Focus News

Zimbabwe Elections boss Priscillah Chigumba says nothing, short of an earthquake, can stop next month’s elections which are only 41 days away.

Addressing journalists yesterday Chigumba said: “The first thing to take note of is once the President has proclaimed the election date, there is nothing short of an earthquake which can stop the election so whether candidates scrutinise the voters’ roll, whether they see any anomalies in it, whatever the anomalies are, whatever legal recourse they have will not stop the election. I want that to be very clear that is the law.”

Chigumba literally dismissed complaints from the opposition which has filed several lawsuits against the electoral body.

“Nothing stops the election; if there are any anomalies in that voters roll . . . candidates can possibly challenge the outcome of the election but whatever legal recourse is at hand cannot stop the election,” she was quoted by the Herald as saying.

“Nothing can stop the election after the proclamation of the election date. What candidates can do for whatever reason and whatever their opinions and views are, is to use anything that they come up with to challenge any outcome of the election.”

Outgoing Bulawayo South Member of Parliament, Eddie Cross, who is one of the founding members of the Movement for Democratic Change says Zimbabwe have more freedom today than at any time since 1994 when Ian Smith detained nationalist leaders.

He said the repressive laws that were passed by Ian Smith and continued under Robert Mugabe are still there but they are just being ignored.

“We do not have to ask the police for permission to meet, we do not feel that we are being watched or followed when we go about our business, the sense of repression and fear has almost dissipated. It’s a process that has not been formalized (and it’s not permanent until it is) but it’s real and even our visitors from abroad feel the difference when they enter the country,” Cross said in his personal blog.

“Then there is the politics – [Thursday] was nomination day for tens of thousands of aspiring candidates for the 2500 odd seats up for grabs in the elections now due on the 30th July. There are now 23 candidates for the Presidency and on average there will be any number for individual seats. The MDC called for a march the other day and a near record crowd turned out. ZANU-PF Youth announced a rival march but the Police banned it and said they could hold it the following day. On the day there was no interference although the riot Police were in evidence.

“Is this real democracy? I inspected the voters roll in my District and found my face on a page with all the details correct. It’s brand new and contains 5.5 million voters and should be reasonably clean.”

Cross, said, however, there were still some problems.

“There are still problems – no access to the ZEC servers and we all know what that can mean. The opposition had to go to the Courts to get electronic access to the roll, but that may now happen and will be a first since Independence. But many essential reforms to ensure a free and fair election are still not implemented. However, despite that, my friends in ZANU-PF tell me with a big smile – this election will be better that those in Kenya! They also say that it may not be free and fair in the classical sense, but it will be ‘smart’.

“The great difference this time is that international observers and the media are now welcome guests and not ‘enemies of the State’. We do not have to smuggle them in as ‘golfers’ or to smuggle their footage out once it is captured. The interaction with ZEC, as opposed to that secretive old man at the Registrar Generals Office, Mudede, is completely different – they listen, may not do anything, but at least we have access and get a hearing.”