Zimbabwe Polls 2018: Chamisa blasts Koffi Annani

BULAWAYO – MDC-Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa yesterday pooh-poohed the counsel from both The Elders and the SADC Election Observer Mission saying his party would not seek legal recourse to solve electoral grievances with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

He said “the people” would be the arbiter to his party’s concerns adding that he had lost trust in the Judiciary.

The Elders and the SADC Election Observer Mission yesterday advised the MDC-Alliance to seek legal recourse to solve any grievances and desist from inciting the population to embark on acts that can cause unrest in the country.

The Elders are an independent group of global leaders that work together for peace and human rights.

Yesterday, Mr Kofi Annan — chair of the group, who was part of the visiting three-member team — said the opposition should stop making “unreasonable” demands and inciting people as this had the potential to breed conflict.

Head of the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM) Tete Antonio also echoed the same viewpoints yesterday when he urged aggrieved political parties to seek redress through the courts.

But speaking at a MDC-Alliance campaign rally at White City Stadium yesterday, Mr Chamisa – who was reacting to a recent decision by Mutare High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera to dismiss the party’s application to stop postal voting by the police — said Zanu-PF seems to be encroaching into the courts.

“I was given enough evidence about how postal voting was conducted. Police officers voted in the presence of their seniors. Yes, and this is why we went to court. But I heard the court was saying something else, which is also an issue about our courts in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Chamisa.

“Our courts should be sanctuaries of justice, our courts should be citadels of justice, not to be extensions of partisan politics because you might be found on the wrong side of the law.

“It’s very important for our courts to be independent, it is very important for our courts to be the last bastion of justice. We see Zanu-PF encroaching into the courts,” he said.

He said he will not seek legal course as the courts had becomes the ruling party’s “bedroom”.

“Yesterday (Friday),(President) Mnangagwa was now saying, Chamisa, if you are not happy, go to the courts. We are not dull; I will not go into your bedroom. . . I will not go that route. We will go to the people, and we will discuss this issue in the court of public opinion. Let the people decide. . .

“What we used to do at university, we will do times 10 (tenfold),” he said in an incendiary speech to his party supporters.

He said the MDC-Alliance will be meeting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Tuesday and if the elections managed body failed to accede to their demands, they will roll out their plan to camp at ZEC offices in order to stop the election.

“But we have a meeting with ZEC on Tuesday, if they don’t accede to our demands, they will not be an election.

‘‘It is our Constitutional right. That is what the liberation struggle was all about, we will not accept any nonsense.

“And we have the numbers; right now, if we say Bulawayo will not be opened, it will not be opened; if we say Harare should not be opened, it will not be opened,” he added.

He further indicated that one of the MDC-Alliance concerns was on “ghost ballot papers” and the party would push for ballot papers to be reprinted if ZEC does not agree to test all the batches of the paper.

Further, he noted that they wanted to jointly guard the ballot paper until its delivery to polling stations.

“After that process, we also want to jointly guard the ballot paper until its delivery to polling stations.

“If the worst comes to the worst, we are prepared to change even the ballpoint pens that are used. Don’t be afraid, we are not going to shake,” he said.

The MDC-Alliance believes that the ballot paper is designed to move votes that would have been appended to the paper to candidates aligned to the ruling party. – Sunday Mail