HARARE – Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has charged that Zanu PF and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) were complicit in denying Zimbabweans a free vote, despite his party’s victory in last Saturday’s by-elections.
Chamisa decried violence, abuse of state institutions and a shambolic voters’ roll, citing them as major factors undermining elections in Zimbabwe.
“We had a lot of challenges. There was violence, we even lost one of our members Mboneni Ncube, some of our supporters were beaten, arrested and many others were injured in Harare, Kwekwe and in various parts of our country,” Chamisa told a news conference in Harare on Monday.
“Yes, we have had a landslide, but that does not move away from the fact that the elections in this country need fundamental reforms around the voters’ roll, the credibility of the voters’ roll. Around the issues that ensure results are managed in a better way, polling stations are not subjected to the violence and intimidation that we have seen.”
The CCC won 19 out of the 28 National assembly seats, and also bagged 75 out of 122 council seats in by-elections held last Saturday.
The party’s overall performance was 64.75 percent, while Zanu PF garnered 35.25 percent of the vote.
Chamisa said that Zanu PF’s use of violence in the by-elections was evidence that the ruling party had deviated from the liberation ethos of “one man, one vote.”
“Zanu PF people do not believe in a free vote, they do not believe in the liberation agenda, they do not believe that citizens have a right to demonstrate their will and express themselves in a free and fair election,” Chamisa charged.
“That’s why they are abusing our traditional leaders, we had a case in Mutasa and other rural areas. In the farming areas people are told that if you exercise your right to vote you are inviting hazard, risk and loss of life.
“This whole lie that the countryside belongs to Zanu PF is a hoax, it’s a fallacy. We are very strong in the rural areas, that’s why people are intimidated. No majority party intimidates its own supporters, there is no violence that is used by strong people, weak people resort to violence. That’s why Zanu PF’s instrument of choice in dealing with the electorate and citizens is violence because they are not supported, particularly in the countryside.”
Chamisa said the by-elections were a “teaser” for the main event: next year’s general elections.
“What we’ve just done is a teaser, an introduction, putting the nation and the world on notice that CCC is the next government,” he said.
“There is nothing that will stop us from forming the next government. Yes, challenges are there, ZEC has to reform, electoral reforms have to be implemented, we have said those electoral reforms have to be put in place.”
Chamisa said although the by-elections were marred by electoral irregularities, the outcome reflected the will of the people.
He added: “You know what happened in parliament, the illegal recalls, other political parties conniving with Zanu PF to decimate and destroy the people’s project. But the citizens are ultimately the umpires. And they have said enough is enough to Mr Mnangagwa and his sidekick (MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora).
“The people have expressed themselves, they have said what we want is the face of change, citizens know their leaders.”