CCC demands Commission of Inquiry into 2023 elections; raps ZEC for “not being truthful” in report

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By Darlington Gatsi

CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators have demanded the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to probe last year’s disputed elections.

This came out in the National Assembly recently as parliamentarians debated the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) report on last year’s plebiscite.

The report has since been criticised by the opposition legislators.

CCC legislator Darlington Chigumbu said the conduct of ZEC in last year’s elections should be looked into.

“We want a Commission of Inquiry to be set up which will tell us why ZEC could not print and take papers in time to the constituencies. This Commission of Inquiry should tell us the discretion ZEC used when they were printing the ballot papers. We want to know the capacity of the machines.

“Were the machines able to print papers? ZEC should compensate all the candidates who were around the places where papers were delayed because the candidates incurred some extra cost when they were supposed to have a one-day budget but it ended up being two days. This was a disadvantage because they burdened the candidates who were running in those 2023 elections,” said Chigumbu.

August 2023 elections remain a contentious issue in the political arena with the opposition crying foul over the conduct of the plebiscite.

Elections were widely condemned by foreign observer missions for failing to meet international standards, in what was a test for the Southern African country.

In the report that was tabled by ZEC, the election mother body cited court cases before the plebiscite as one of the reasons that some constituencies in the country cast ballots overnight.

Chigumbu accused ZEC of being dishonest in its report.

“ZEC is saying that we delayed the printing of papers because of these court cases – that is clear.  However, what is not clear is that if you go to the Annex where there were court cases, it shows that there were issues to do with Members of Parliament.  The issue which was at stake was those who wanted to be President.

“When coming to mitigations – ZEC is not giving us a full report on when these cases were finalised and it is also not giving us the capacity that they had of printing ballot papers.  Suppose the cases were finalised today, was it possible that ZEC could not have papers the following day because if they could print all the papers in 24 hours, that is the capacity I am asking for?  After the court cases were resolved, did ZEC have the capacity?

“Going back to my constituency, I have one ward that got papers late and voting started at 8 pm though we did not have any court cases or double candidates.  This means when ZEC is saying they could not get ballot papers to certain places because of court cases, they are not being truthful,” he said.