Sunday, 15 July 2018

DEATH THREATS FOR ZEC COMMISSIONER

Commissioner with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), Mrs Netsai Mushonga, has reported death threats received on social media to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), saying she takes them very seriously.

Commissioner Mushonga, who has a strong presence on Twitter, has been using her social media account to post updates on election-related issues. However, last week she received a message from what appeared to be an anonymous Twitter account under the name Solomon Rex Nhongo Mujuru, threatening to shoot her.
“I have reported to the police the case of someone who threatened to shoot me. There are other cases of abuse and insult, but I have chosen to report that particular case because I took it very seriously. The person threatened to shoot me twice,” she told our Harare Bureau.
She said the threats would not deter her from routinely sharing information with the public through the micro-blogging site.
“I believe that whatever we are doing is right and my conscience is clear. I will not be deterred from doing our job. I will continue giving information to the public and I will continue tweeting because people have a right to information. We cannot deny people the right to information just because of a few malcontents,” she said.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza, who is Commander for ZRP 2018 Harmonised Elections Commitee, said law enforcement agents have launched investigations.
“We are looking into these issues and we will be following up with stations where the matter has been reported. I want to warn those that abuse social media that we have mechanisms to catch them if they commit crimes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zec has said it is too late for any political party to blame it for not kowtowing to their demands that are not provided for in the constitutional provisions guiding the holding of elections. The commission says it has not been rigid but has gone far beyond legislative expectations to meet the demands of the parties and prove transparency. Addressing a media and stakeholders forum on Friday evening in Bulawayo, Zec commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo said nothing would stop the elections from being held.
“Zec is making it clear and emphatic that the elections would be held. In terms of the legislative framework, the commission is following the rules. There are some stakeholders that may not be happy with the way Zec is following the law. If they wanted things done in a certain way then they should have sought to make provisions for that in Parliament so that the electoral act reflects what they desire.
The commission finds itself falsely being accused of doing things improperly. But in most cases those that are laying the accusations are ignorant of the legal provisions guiding the operations of the commission and it is very unfortunate,” said Dr Moyo.
He said the commission had fulfilled its commitment in developing a credible voter’s roll.
“The commission took it upon itself to have a voter’s roll that would carry proper identification particulars of the voter. We have 5.6 million Zimbabweans who have been registered under the biometric voter registration system and we want to make it clear that there are no duplicates. Some news publications have been making claims of this. Some made a claim of 250 000 ghost voters and I want to make it clear that those claims are malicious, misleading and this is indicative of a lack of professionalism in some media houses. People may have the same name and that we cannot run away from but they don’t have similar IDs and fingerprints. The next issue is about sharing a similar address. We need to look at where this thing started. You will understand that we wanted people who wanted to register to bring proof of residence but people said we wanted to rig.
“In the interest of inclusivity we allowed people to register by means of an affidavit signed by councilors and other authoritative people. Now we have a situation where we have people appearing on similar addresses and it is now the commission’s fault. We should take it as a collective responsibility as Zimbabweans born out of a desire to open up space for all stakeholders.
“The commission designed its ballot and chose its printers in terms of the provision but because there was so much bickering the commission decided to take stakeholders to the printers to see. Some had been making claims that the ballot was being printed elsewhere. We wanted to satisfy them and assure them that it is done here in Zimbabwe. We made sure they saw and witnessed the process,” said Dr Moyo.
He said there were no requirements in terms of the law to allow political parties to be involved in Zec’s primary business, saying inviting parties to witness the process was civil and meant to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Sunday News

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