THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called on the government to disband the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and allow the United Nations to supervise general elections due in July this year.
ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo told NewZimbabwe.com that the trip to Russia by the ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba in the company of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s special advisor Chris Mutsvangwa had seriously compromised the electoral agency.
“This (trip) vindicates all those who have always said that ZEC is not independent.,” said Moyo.
“This incident reinforces the call to disband it (ZEC) and, in the meantime, allow the UN to supervise the elections.
“That (incident) puts the electoral commission in a very compromised situation in terms of its neutrality.”
Moyo said the sense of tranquility prevailing in the country was never a guarantee for credible election outcomes, especially given that the head of ZEC was travelling to a foreign land with a member of a contesting party under the guise of monitoring elections there.
Opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Justice Chigumba was “arrogant and not serious about holding credible, free and fair elections in the country”.
The ZEC chairperson, Mafume said, had shown that she cared less about people’s perceptions, adding it was not necessary for her to travel with Mutsvangwa and share her pictures with him while in Russia.
Chigumba, who was appointed ZEC chairperson last month, should not have snubbed the European Union Elections Observer Mission currently in the country to go to observe elections in Russia, which incumbent Vladimir Putin won with a landslide.
“Elections can be so sensitive and such meetings can cause instability in a country where the opposition is suppressed, and elections are stage managed,” said the PDP official.
Chigumba has nothing to learn from Russia and should have turned down the invitation to concentrate on more pressing issues at home where there are cries for a level electoral playing field.
“She got in late and does she even has the time for election tourism when there are important delegations in the country let alone take selfies with characters Iike Chris in a country with dubious elections,” he said.
Zimbabwe is expecting elections between July and August and the opposition is pushing for key reforms before the make or break plebiscite.
Changes demanded include the re-composition of ZEC which parties claim is full of security sector personnel.