Electoral body full of CIOs -Tsvangirai

HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) secretariat was full of state security agents and their presence there threatened the holding of credible elections.

Tsvangirai, who did not attend Cabinet on Tuesday and instead travelled to Zambia where he met President Rupiah Banda over President Robert Mugabe’s appointment of provincial governors, judges and ambassadors, was addressing party supporters at Cyril Jennings Hall in Highfield.

The PM told MDC-T supporters that the voters’ roll was in shambles and still carried names of dead people, another issue that needed clearing before free and fair elections could be held.

The PM said there was also need for a delimitation exercise by Zec to determine constituency boundaries.

“Zec is full of CIO operatives in its secretariat and we know that,” Tsvangirai said. “We should get rid of them. What do they want there?”

He also took a swipe at the uniformed forces which he described as partisan, “acting like an extension of Zanu PF”.

“Zanu PF has replaced itself with the CIO, soldiers and the police and these elements are destroying the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Those elements do not want freedom for the people of Zimbabwe. We respect their institutions but they have to be professional and non-partisan.”

Tsvangirai reiterated that there would be no violence in the next election as all efforts were being made to have regional and international observers in the country before and after elections.

It took more than an hour of pleading by Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone, Finance minister Tendai Biti and several other senior officials from Tsvangirai’s party before the meeting was allowed to proceed.

Makone, Biti and Nelson Chamisa, also a government minister, tried in vain to convince the police they had the right to hold the meeting according to law.

Makone, who should be in charge of the police, failed to stamp her authority on the armed riot police who told her in her face that they had orders “from above” not to allow the meeting to take place.

Biti, who is also the MDC-T secretary- general tried in vain to convince the police that Makone, as Home Affairs co-minister, administered the Public Order and Security Act which the police were citing to stop the meeting.

“She is your minister and you have to respect her,” Biti tried to reason but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Makone had to make several calls to Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri before the meeting was finally given the green light.

Last week, a scheduled meeting at the same venue was blocked because police permission had not been granted and yesterday, the MDC-T claimed they had followed every procedure the police required.

Tsvangirai, who must have been waiting for the result of the standoff somewhere, arrived at the venue soon after police relented and allowed the meeting to proceed.

The PM’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka Wednesday confirmed Tsvangirai met Banda, the troika chair, in an effort to save the unity government from collapse.

Tamborinyoka said: “He met President Banda to update him on the status of the Global Political Agreement and the progress of the coalition government since the Sadc summit in Windhoek, Namibia. This follows the unilateral actions taken by those who were overwhelmingly rejected by the people last year.

“The GPA is supposed to be the bible in the coalition government, but some people have chosen to tear it verse by verse.” – News Day