Chamisa threatens to ‘block’ elections if demands are not met

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Moses Matenga

The MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, has said his party would make sure no election takes place this month if their demands are not met by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Addressing party supporters after a demonstration against ZEC in Harare yesterday, Chamisa said his party would “block” the elections if their demands were ignored by ZEC. He said this time it would not be the electoral body that would announce the election results, but the MDC Alliance.

That, however, would be an open defiance of the laws of Zimbabwe and the guidelines for elections, which could put Chamisa in trouble with the laws of the land.

Obert Gutu, the MDC-T vice president, told Business Times that though they were in agreement with the MDC Alliance, they would still participate in the 30 July elections.

“We don’t know what they mean by blocking,” Gutu said. “As the MDC-T led by Dr Thokozani Khupe, we will participate in the election under protest. We agree with them that ZEC has been blundering a lot, but we are participating, we are going for the elections but under protest.”

But Chamisa was uncompromising yesterday. He said he was sending his party youths into rural areas to guard and protect people, claiming that Zanu PF had deployed in villages to intimidate the electorate.

“We have penetrated rural areas and that is why they are going there to intimidate the people,” Chamisa claimed. “I am sending my youths in rural areas to guard and protect people and write names [of those intimidating others]. We know victory is imminent in this country. Mnangagwa will lose the election even if I am not on the ballot.”

Continuing, Chamisa said ZANU-PF did not have the numbers to win the elections. “They will try. But Mnangagwa’s problem is that he is not supported in his own party and his people are giving us inside information. We will not repeat the 2013 mistake of going into an election without a clear plan.

“They will not steal this election. Our clear agenda is not to get into the election unless things change. Unlike in the past we will not boycott an election, this is not a Zanu PF primary election, this is a national election, so if we don’t agree, nothing will move,” Chamisa said, adding: “We are going to tell you the results, not Zanu PF. We are going to tell you the results because we don’t trust ZEC. We have machinery in and out of Zimbabwe. Change is certain, victory is certain.”

In 2008, the then MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti, was arrested for announcing election results and declaring the late party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, as the “democratically elected President.”

Chamisa’s MDC Alliance has been complaining that the army has deployed in rural areas, a position rubbished by the army spokesperson, Colonel Overson Mgwisi. The party also wants political parties to be involved in the procurement of election materials, deciding the quality of ballot papers and who prints them.

But recent media reports have quoted the ZEC chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba, as having said only an earthquake would stop the 30 July elections.