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Mariyacha sides with Chamisa on boycott

By Daniel Chigundu

United Democratic Movement (UDM) President Violet Mariyacha says she in favour of election boycott if irregularities on the ballot paper printing and security are not addressed.

Opposition parties are demanding transparency on the issue of ballot paper printing and storage before the election scheduled for July 30 this year.

This demand comes amid an allegation that the ruling party Zanu PF has a tendency of printing more ballot papers than required and use the extra at ghost polling stations.

MDC Alliance Presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa told the media a few days ago that his party will not participate in predetermined elections as was the case in previous polls.

According to Chamisa if the issue of transparency on the ballot paper printing is not addressed, they will not only boycott but will also ensure the election will not take place.

Speaking at the Making Elections Makes Sense debate series organised by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Mariyacha said it was clear that ZEC has something to hide that is why it is refusing to be open.

“We were called to Fidelity Printers to witness the printing of the ballot paper but when we got there we were surprised that we were made to stand in corridors and watch from 20 metres away, we didn’t see what was happening.

“What I think really is that ZEC has got so much to hide because if they don’t have anything to hide when they called us they should have let us see the ballot paper, the processes which the opposition parties are demanding simple.

“But now they are saying who in the world have you seen doing that, but we can always start so as UDM we are working with other opposition parties who believe that if these elections are flawed we don’t want to enter into an election where others have already won,” she said.

Asked on why she has not withdrawn from the race if she feels the process is flawed, Mariyacha added that it was too early to pull the plug as they are currently engaging ZEC over the issues.

“We haven’t arrived on the 30th, it’s still a long way things are happening in between, we are still trying to communicate and gauge ZEC and say where are we guys last time we met they said we will meet again this week so we are still waiting, we are still hoping they will engage us and give us feedback to the demand which we have placed on them,” she said.

People’s Rainbow Coalition leader Joice Mujuru while the process is flawed and favours one side, her party is not withdrawing but hopes that government will address the challenges.

“Our policy as a party is not to withdraw from an election, but these are some of the issues we want the government to sort out,” she said.

Melbah Dzapasi leader of #1980 Freedom Movement of Zimbabwe said everything about ZEC is flawed and that previous elections have been rigged big time adding that her party will continue to fight until the process is free, fair and credible.

“With regards to ZEC we have been deceived since 2008, the election was flawed everything was not ok, there was some rigging that took place, it was a massive rigging.

‘We want these issues to be solved that is why my election agent Dr Francis Danha was dragged out during the signing of the peace pledge which is unfair because he is representing us the people of Zimbabwe so that elections are done in a transparent manner and we will continue to fight until the system is fixed so that its free fair and credible,” she said.

Thokozani Khupe who is leading another MDC-T faction said while there are irregularities her party is not boycotting but will work towards the security of the vote than anything else.-

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor 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 and a board member of Digital Communication Network. 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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