By Daniel Chigundu
MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora says the many challenges bedeviling the country are a direct result of lack of legitimacy on the part of Zanu PF because it rigged the 2013 general elections.
Zimbabwe is facing economic, political and social challenges as most developed and democratic countries are unwilling to do business with Harare alleging that it rigged previous elections.
The country is experiencing a monumental economic demise fronted by acute cash shortages, lack of lines of credit from multilateral lending institutions and company closures owing to viability challenges.
Speaking during a policy dialogue meeting organised by the Election Resource Centre, Mwonzora said the country faces the crisis of legitimacy because people have never had leaders they have chosen.
“The crisis in Zimbabwe is threefold; it is the crisis of governance, the crisis of the economy and the crisis of legitimacy. The crisis of legitimacy comes because we have never had leaders that we have actually chosen, we have never had free and fair elections, so the issue of free and affair election addresses in our view the crisis of legitimacy.
“Our leaders complain a lot that when they go outside the country they are not treated with respect, the investment they try to bring into the country doesn’t come, they complain a lot about that and they blame it all on something else, but the most important thing is because there is a crisis of legitimacy.
“So for us to have free and fair elections what electoral system must we have, we must have an electoral system that guarantees three things the secrecy of the vote, security of the vote and the security of the voter,” he said.
Since the formation of the main opposition MDC in September 2000, every election in Zimbabwe has been discredited owing to such things as electoral violence, intimidation and many other sophisticated electoral malpractices.
Meanwhile, Douglas Mwonzora has revealed that the issue of going the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) way has been a call of the MDC from its formation as a way of trying to get rid of some of the avenues of rigging and that BVR remain necessary despite the current contestations.
“The BVR system has been demand by MDC since its formation, and it was a demand of MDC before the historic first split, it was also a demand of the MDC on the second split when we part ways with president Elton Mangoma and it was a demand of the MDC when I succeeded president Tendai Biti as the secretary general of MDC, it has been a demand of the MDC.
“And why is the MDC united when it split and when it split again why it was consistent on the BVR, because BVR system creates a new voter registration system. It, therefore means by having a BVR system we will have a new voter’s roll, that’s the fastest way of getting away from this Mudede voters roll, so that’s our attraction number one.
“Attraction number two, using BVR system it means the dead voters don’t appear on the voters roll, the dead voters won’t be able to be taken photographs, fingerprints and so on, so the dead voters won’t vote and attraction number three, the voter registration slips that were used to cheat the 2013 election will be done away with,” Mwonzora said.
The MDC secretary general added that in as much as the BVR system is important, it however cannot eliminate all the electoral malpractices that range from intimidation, unfairness and abuse of the state resources by the ruling party which he says they are more of attitude issues.
Mwonzora said the only problem with the topic of BVR emanated from government’s decision to take over the procurement of the BVR kits which was against the political parties and ZEC platform that UNDP will handle the procurement.
The soft-spoken former legislator said by taking over procurement, the government will be breaching a contract it had with the UNDP, political parties and that it had with ZEC.
According to Mwonzora, political parties are not against government funding the procurement but are against its taking over of the process and adding that they will not allow it.
“We are not against government funding the procurement, we are against the government taking over the procurement because that way the government want to give this contract to its friends, it wants to give it to NIKUV and we are saying that must be resisted and that is where the fight is right now but the BVR is a necessity in this country,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion Peoples Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said his party has no problem BVR technology, but are have no faith in the people who will be manning the system.