Zec exonerates Zanu PF over voters’ phone numbers

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) says Zanu PF got mobile numbers of voters during its door-to-door campaigns, denying allegations that it gave President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa a different voters’ roll to others.

by XOLISANI NCUBE

Responding to a Constitutional Court challenge filed by MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa, who is disputing results announced by Zec in which Mnangagwa was declared winner with a 50,8% vote, the commission’s chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba denied her poll management body helped the ruling party.

Chigumba, in her response, attached an affidavit from Zanu PF MP-elect for Muzvezve constituency, Vangelis Haritatos, who alleged that he got the numbers to which he sent his campaign messages during a door-to-door campaign.

“He (Haritatos) avers therein that any voter cellphone numbers that he has, have been derived from his own door-to-door campaign. I attach a copy of the affidavit hereto marked B,” an affidavit by Chigumba read.

In the build-up the July 30 elections, Zanu PF sent direct messages to potential voters, appealing for them to vote for Mnangagwa, the party’s MP and councillor − a feat which opposition parties said was necessitated by Zec.

Chamisa, in his election petition, stated that Zec had given Zanu PF a voter’s roll with the electorate’s contact details while they were given a different version.

Chigumba refuted the claims, arguing that all parties were given a similar copy of the roll, but Zanu PF went further and mobilised for its victory.

“The applicant’s (Chamisa) request for a full BVR (biometric voters’ roll) and similar requests by other parties and individuals was denied on the grounds that were clearly stated by the electoral commission,” Chigumba said.

The Zec boss also attached an electoral court ruling in the matter that was brought before it by a Kadoma resident against Haritatos to prove that indeed Zec did not give Zanu PF contact details of any electorate.

The messages sent to prospective voters had the name and other details, including their home address as well as polling station.

In his Constitutional Court challenge set to be heard next week, Chamisa wants the Constitutional Court to nullify Mnangagwa’s victory on the basis of law, procedure as well as figure tabulation which he said do not add up.

Just like Zec, Mnangagwa has denied benefiting from any illegality by the commission, but he suggested that the youthful leader was sloppy in his campaign and got carried away by attendance numbers at his rallies.

The Zanu PF leader alleged that Chamisa had previously attacked the court, making his hands dirty as he approached the apex court.