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Anti-graft lobby says ED encouraging ‘bribery’, ZEC ‘unscrupulous’

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By Staff Reporter

A REGIONAL anti-graft lobby has condemned President Emmerson Mnangagwa and further demanded a public retraction of his alleged calls on Zanu PF members to offer trinkets to traditional chiefs.

In a report released July 5, the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA), also condemned the President for buying vehicles for the traditional leaders in something that was perceived to be a vote buying gimmick.

The report, entitled, “The state of electoral fraud and corruption in the run up to the July 2018 general elections in Zimbabwe,” demands the President’s retraction of his calls for chiefs to be pampered with goodies.

“Regardless of the condemnation of the utterance, in January 2018, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government dished out vehicles to traditional leaders, despite other pressing national priorities, in the health and education sector to name but a few.

“This was perceived as a vote buying gimmick,” says the NGO in its report.

Mnangagwa is accused of telling his followers the goodies offered to chiefs will secure their political support.

The group says the utterances made during the President’s Mutoko visit was tantamount to urging them to be corrupt.

ACTSA said the Electoral Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates, especially Section 6 (f) (g) should be enforced to the fullest.

The section forbids parties contesting in an election to bribe or intimidate voters and electoral officials.

Likewise, the anti-graft lobby said Mnangagwa’s Mutoko remarks were symptomatic of “deep rooted electoral corruption” in Zimbabwe.

The report also makes a damning account of Zimbabwean elections which it says are fraught with malpractices, among them media bias, vote buying, intimidation and other forms of undue influence.

The report went on to describe the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) as unscrupulous for allegedly ignoring opposition demands for a level political playing field.

“Unscrupulous behaviour of ZEC which despite demand, is stubbornly refusing to comply with the law and demands from opposition,” reads the report, which insists the July 30 polls were illegitimate if no attention was given to irregularities cited by stakeholders outside the ruling party.

The report also called for an investigation into the abuse of government ministries, department staff and resources for party business ahead of the polls.

ACTSA also accused Zanu PF of continually using state owned firms as party cash cows.

“To this end the Anti-Corruption of Southern Africa recommends that all SOES (State Owned Enterprises) be banned from funding political parties and that action be taken against all those who made decision to fund Zanu PF,” says the report.

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