By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is leading a team from all parties represented in Zimbabwe’s legislature studying and observing South Africa’s electoral systems as part of a learning process New Zimbabwe has gathered.
Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and other commissioners are part of a team that includes acting chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana who are in the neighbouring country as South Africa prepares for a crunch general election slated for May 8.
Opposition MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora confirmed he was in South Africa representing his party.
“We have been here for a week and all parties that have a presence in Parliament have representation. I was supposed to come with Hon Tabitha Khumalo (MDC national chairperson) but she could not make it. We have permission from our president (Nelson Chamisa),” said Mwonzora.
Mwonzora’s quick indication that he had Chamisa’s blessing to attend the meeting is probably aimed at pacifying party activists who ordinarily would not take lightly to senior opposition officials mingling with Zanu PF. In the past verbal wars have broken out in the opposition MDC over attendance by its members of functions in which the ruling Zanu PF party is involved.
Party vice president Elias Mudzuri has seen his political fortunes take a nosedive after he attended a meeting organised by Parliament with President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mudzuri was harangued by senior MDC leaders including deputy treasurer general Chalton Hwende and aspiring vice president Murisi Zwizwai, over the issue before he was humiliated at a rally in Harare by party supporters.
The MDC secretary general who is reportedly preparing to launch an audacious bid for the presidency of the party in which he will square up with Chamisa, has also burnt his fingers after he and Mudzuri reportedly apologised to Chief Justice Luke Malaba after the head of the country’s judiciary was heckled by opposition lawmakers last year.
According to Mwonzora, Zanu PF is also represented and so is the National Patriotic Front by (NPF) Kwekwe Central’s Masango Matambanadzo. The NPF was built out of the ashes of the vanquished G40 faction of the ruling party whose matriarch was former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Zec has come under intense scrutiny for what critics say is its “poor” management of elections in Zimbabwe. This, the opposition argues is part of deliberate attempt to allow Zanu PF to manipulate elections.
Chamisa controversially lost last year’s presidential elections to Mnangagwa but argued the poll had been rigged with Zec’s assistance.
The MDC leader challenged the result at the Constitutional Court but the petition was thrown out for what the ConCourt said was lack of evidence. The local poll management body has also been beset by capacity and financial problems.