Mnangagwa scoffs at Chamisa’s ballot paper demands, tells MDC-T rival he can’t stop elections

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By UK Bureau

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has scoffed at opposition demands regarding the ballot paper for this month’s crunch elections and insisted that his disgruntled rivals cannot stop the vote going ahead.

The key election – the first without Robert Mugabe who led the country from independence in 1980 until last November’s military coup – is scheduled for July 30.

Addressing the media in Harare this week, opposition MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa declared that “there will no election in this country if our concerns are not addressed”.

Responding, Mnangagwa told a campaign rally in Gokwe on Friday that; “You must remember that there is only one person who can decide to stop the elections and it’s me who proclaimed them and no one else made the proclamation”.

Chamisa’s opposition alliance has called a protest in Harare next week against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) which it accuses of manipulating the vote in favour of Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party.

The MDC wants the electoral commission to halt the printing of ballot papers until a common position on the design and structure of the ballots has been agreed upon.

They argue the current design favours Mngangagwa as his name has been put at the top.

The Zanu PF leader dismissed the complaint Friday saying; “This question of saying my name should be here or there or an alphabetical order must be used is null and void.

“When they saw my name on top of the ballot they said they should have used alphabetical order and therefore Mnangagwa’s name should not be on top.

“Elections will go ahead whether you start with the initial C or M on the ballot paper.”

Chamisa has also demanded that ZEC provides his party with an electronic voters’ roll containing photographs of registered voters. He contends that there are several anomalies.

The MDC-T leader has vowed that he would “rather die” than participate in a rigged vote.

“I would rather die than participate in an election that is not free and fair,” said the 40-year-old leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).