Mr Utoile Silaigwana

Mr Utoile Silaigwana

Tichaona Zindoga, Harare Bureau
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday said two senior MDC Alliance officials witnessed the collation and verification of results at the National Elections Command Centre before their announcement.

Zec Acting Chief Elections Officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana, decried the opposition MDC Alliance’s deliberate misleading of the public about the country’s electoral processes in a bid to cause unrest following the just-ended 2018 harmonised elections.

MDC Alliance top official Mr Morgen Komichi has been claiming that they were excluded by Zec from the collation and verification of the results.

The MDC Alliance, led by Mr Nelson Chamisa, is disputing the outcome of the July 30 elections, which saw the coalition lose to the ruling Zanu-PF in the National Assembly and Presidential polls.

Mr Chamisa claims the results announced by the independent body are fake, promising to publish figures his party allegedly got from a parallel process, despite Zec getting the approval of most foreign observer missions in its conduct of the polls.

Another independent body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, has validated Zec’s figures.

Mr Silaigwana expressed dismay at the behaviour of the MDC Alliance, revealing that two of its top officials — Messrs Jameson Timba and Komichi — were present at the National Elections Command Centre during the collation and verification of results.

“We had two of them, Mr Morgen Komichi and Mr Jameson Timba,” Mr Silaigwana revealed. “They were here from the first day we received the V11 and the V23 forms from the constituencies. They were with us throughout and I can vouch that I personally assisted them to give them the copies of our V11s.

“I said to them ‘This is where we do our collation’. First they were taken around and it was explained to them what happens in the collation room. I happened to be there by the time they were taken around, and I demonstrated to them that we display the V11 forms and any other documents that come from any other constituencies.”

Mr Silaigwana said he invited the two officials to take notes and make inquiries, but they did not register any complaints.

He said while representatives of the other 22 candidates came and went away, the MDC Alliance duo “literally camped” at the Command Centre.

Despite signing the V11 sheets before the announcement of the results, Mr Komichi later caused a scene at the results announcement centre when he, along with Mr Chamisa’s spokesperson Dr Nkululeko Sibanda,   invaded the stage to claim that Zec’s figures were fake.

They were whisked off the stage by security.

Said Mr Silaigwana: “That was unnecessary, completely unnecessary . . . I don’t understand why that behaviour was displayed. It was unexpected of him (Mr Komichi) as a senior member of a political party.

“It was uncalled for. He wasn’t supposed to do that because by so doing they are deceiving, not only the nation and the world, at the last minute to say, ‘No we are not agreeable to the results’ when for the past three days they were in the collation room, and they never raised a single objection.

“Not even at one time did they say they objected to the results. In fact, I even said to them, ‘Look you had representatives or you had representatives and agents also at all the polling stations, and you had agents at the ward centres and at the constituency centres. Those agents were given the same documents we are using here and if you want to bring them and compare it’s up to you’. Whether they heard it or not I am not sure. It’s another thing.”

Mr Silaigwana said the behaviour of the MDC Alliance was deplorable.

“That behaviour should be condemned because it might incite people to get violent,” he said. “It is inciting behaviour, in my view, because the Commission has authentic results and it has invited these agents, and the two gentlemen were initially camped in the collation centre until the last minute.

“When we finished collating the results they were there, then they suddenly turned and say, ‘We have not seen the results’. I think that’s being irresponsible.”

Meanwhile, our Harare Bureau understands that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating Mr Komichi’s breach of the stage and have been furnished with a report that they are currently studying.