Africa 24.7.2018 04:12 pm

Zim Electoral Commission meeting implodes as Zanu-PF storms out

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (centre) at a ZANU-PF rally in Bulawayo. Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (centre) at a ZANU-PF rally in Bulawayo. Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

Fears surrounding the legitimacy of the upcoming elections are rising following SADC’s refusal to endorse the election.

Zanu-PF on Tuesday stormed out of a meeting between political parties and the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission, eNCA has reported.

During the meeting, parties raised a number of concerns, including the presidential ballot paper that puts President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the top right instead of down the list at number 15.

Tempers flared during the meeting, with the opposition suggesting this might result in the ‘X’ mark migrating from one candidate to President Mnangagwa on the ballot, but the commission rejected those claims.

The commission has also rejected a request by the MDC to randomly test the exact ballot papers that will be used instead of the samples.

Later this week the number of printed ballot papers and name of their manufacturer will be published by the commission.

It was reported last week that scores of Zanu-PF supporters started walking out of a campaign rally in Mutare on Friday before Mnangagwa addressed them.

Chiwenga had to ask the supporters to remain seated since his boss had not yet addressed them.

A few weeks before the walkout last week, Zanu-PF supporters also walked out on Mnangagwa as he was addressing a rally in Bindura.

It is reported the walkouts are yet another indication that Zanu-PF’s formerly unshakable grip on power in Zimbabwe may be slipping. A poll released recently suggested Mnangagwa had 40% of the support from the electorate, not very far ahead of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on 37%.

The Afrobarometer poll said there was now a “reasonable possibility” the opposition champion could win after a spurt in popularity.

This has sparked fears that the possibility of losing will cause Mnangagwa to use the same intimidation tactics and alleged voting fraud that his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s administration became infamous for.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission has already said it won’t endorse the election following several complaints relating to the democratic process.

The MDC alliance has also raised concerns over the security around the ballot papers and the design ahead of the 30 July poll.

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