Inside Politics

MDC-T in Nikuv U-turn

Moses Matenga

The opposition MDC-T has made a sensational claim that an unnamed Chinese company was involved in the alleged rigging of the 2013 harmonised elections, a U-turn from previous claims that an Israeli firm, Nikuv Project International, were part of the said rigging scheme.

In 2013, the MDC-T challenged the results, claiming that Nikuv was paid more than $10 million to rig the elections, a claim they used to take Zanu PF to court seeking to nullify the results.

However, in an interview, MDC-T acting chairperson Morgen Komichi said he was informed by the late party leader Morgan Tsvangirai that ballot papers and a machine from China had arrived from China and efforts to follow that up landed him in trouble after he was arrested and spent 100 days behind bars.

“Our main worry is on ballot paper printing. We see ZEC’s dishonesty on the matter by going clandestinely to get a firm to print the ballot paper yet when we sought for tenders, we went together as political parties,” he said.

“Zec did its own process and got the paper without our knowledge and we know it is a plan to rig election. That is the way they rig election. If (President) Mnangagwa doesn’t want to rig election, he should be honest with the ballot paper. If he doesn’t prove a point on open tender process, we will conclude he wants to rig elections,” he said.

He said the MDC-T will leave no stone unturned on the ballot paper printing matter.

“The ballot paper matter is not a laughing matter. In 2013, there is a ballot paper that arrived from China two weeks before we went for elections. The ballot paper was housed at a government building where there was a Chinese machine that printed the ballot paper used to rig the 2013 elections. They arrested me because they feared I had an idea on their rigging strategy,” he said.

“What happened is Tsvangirai told me of a paper that had arrived at the airport that day from China. Armed with that, I confronted Makarau over   the matter, she panicked and professed ignorance. They arrested me because they thought I was aware of their plot and caged me for 100 days.”

“They still have the papers here in Zimbabwe; they still have the machine and want to flood those ballot papers. People must be aware of the plot to rig the elections,” he said.

After the MDC-T loss in 2013, the then party leader claimed that a shadowy Israeli firm, Nikuv Project International — which had deals with voters’ rolls and elections, among other things — was paid $10 million to manipulate the voters’ roll.

According to papers filed to accompany a Constitutional Court application by the MDC-T then, Nikuv reportedly received over 50 payments between February 4 and July 30averaging $200 000 each.

“What is also worrying is the involvement of an Israeli firm, Nikuv Projects International, in the development, management and manipulation of the voters’ roll,” the dossier read in part.

Komichi said there were lots of outstanding issues ahead of the elections.

President Mnangagwa will soon announce the election date.


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