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D-Day for ballot paper negotiations

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By Daniel Chigundu

MDC Alliance says it hopes consensus on the contentious issue of the Presidential ballot paper will be reached this Tuesday failure of which will see them camping at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) headquarters.

ZEC met with political parties last Friday under the banner of multi-party liaison committee with a view to finding consensus on various sticking issues.

However, the meeting failed to address the topical issue of the Presidential ballot paper which is rumoured to favour President Emmerson Mnangagwa and another meeting has been scheduled for this Tuesday (24 July).

Nelson Chamisa who is fronting the MDC Alliance is on record on several occasions saying his party will not participate in an election whose ballot paper they did not agree to.

Addressing party supporters during an election campaign rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru over the weekend, Chamisa said the Friday meeting failed to deal with the ballot paper issue and is hopeful the matter will be deliberated on during the Tuesday meeting.

“So, on the ballot issue there is no going back there is no compromise, we told ZEC on Friday to show us the ballot they claim to have printed, we want to see where it is and we can compromise that printing be done while we wait so that we test batch by batch for authenticity then we approve and we also put our agents to guard it as well until the day of voting.

“If we agree we then we go for the elections but if not we have said we will do a vigil and this vigil will not be a joke, we will ensure everyone is part of this, this is a national effort, there will not be rigging because this is about our future, this is why the liberation struggle was fought, to have one man one vote, we will evoke the spirit of liberation that has never been evoked in this country,” he said.

Chamisa added that the 2018 elections are the people’s election and their voice matters and therefore there has to be consensus and agreement on the electoral processes.

“There can never be stability without the governed, there can never be peace in this country without the citizen’s consent, so understand that we need to agree and reach consensus and not to impose your will.

“On this issue of the ballot we are not compromising and on Tuesday we are meeting with ZEC and we said we will have to reach a consensus without that we will do whatever it takes to make sure the election is free and fair.

“Your voice must count, your vote must count, your vote must be protected and we shall protect it, they will miss Morgan Tsvangirai this year and they will wish he was alive, because Chamisa is not easily pushed, will not let go I will be like a termite and I will not release my bite,” he said.

Chamisa, who had been touted as the only meaningful competitor to President Mnangagwa in this election, said he will not be coached to take his concerns to courts law because they behave like extensions of Zanu PF.

“This suggestion from ED that I should go to court, I will not play into his traps, I won’t be way-laid into predetermined elections, we will not participate in an election whose outcome is already known, we won’t participate in elections that have already been won.

“We have to agree that we are going to an election then we go to an election and not to a predetermined event we will not allow that,” said Chamisa.

On its side, ZEC is of the view that it has the sole responsibility of designing, printing and distributing the ballot papers as part of their constitutional mandate of running and organising elections and referendums.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He writes for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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