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Zimbabwe Election Commission’s Secret Re-location Sparks Speculation


Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has described as desperate measures by the ruling ZANU-PF party to move the offices of the electoral commission to a secret location. The MDC says the move is a calculated attempt by supporters of incumbent President Robert Mugabe to thwart its victory and force a presidential election run-off. This comes after supporters of incumbent President Robert Mugabe reportedly told MDC officials as well as independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni that they have no right to be present for the final count of the presidential vote.

The leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he will not be part of an election run-off, claiming that he won the election with over 50 percent of the votes. But the government dismissed Tsvangirai’s accusation as mere rhetoric.

Mark Fungano is a Zimbabwean political analyst at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the delay in announcing the presidential election results is an affront to Zimbabweans.

“I think my personal opinion about the latest development is that we should not really be worried or be surprised by what ZANU-PF has done to move the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to a secret location because we have already known from the onset that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission who is not independent from the ruling party…I think that anybody outside Zimbabwe knows that ZANU-PF has been trying as much as possible to discredit the electoral process, and to try and rig the electoral process and to prove that there were flaws in the electoral process,” Fungano noted.

He said Zimbabweans are not fully aware of what is going on.

“Obviously Zimbabweans have been kept in the dark for a long time. And I think these developments what they simply do is that they further widen or create stair within Zimbabweans in terms of this election. And I think what people are just seeing is that the only option that we need to look at is to say what are we going to do with a government that is denying us an opportunity to express our voice? They now need a leadership from the opposition and the civil society on what steps they can now take in terms of dealing with this intransigence of ZANU-PF,” he said.

Fungano said he supports the main opposition’s stance of refusing to be part of a possible election run-off.

“I think it is the right move because by them participating in the run-off they are one, legitimizing the claims that are coming from the ZANU-PF, and secondly, they are allowing ZANU-PF to use its extra tactics of brutalizing people and of rigging elections for them to get an opportunity because ZANU-PF will not accept any other victory other than themselves,” Fungano pointed out.

Meanwhile, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is calling on African leaders to help get rid of incumbent President Robert Mugabe, whom he accused of being a dictator.

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