THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has demanded proof of how it “rigs” elections, describing as “bar talk” allegations that it manipulates the results in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

Addressing political parties attending a youth caucus peace-building meeting hosted by 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation in Harare yesterday, Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana said: “If you want to say Zec has rigged elections or that something has not been done correctly, then we need substantive evidence. There is a provision of the Electoral Court in the Electoral Act where you should take all these matters. You as the political actors are the same people who are actually sending the voters away. Elections end with V11s; those other issues about favour and malpractices are just bar talk without proof.”

He added: “If you have an issue with an electoral process, you are the people in Parliament, and if you have a problem with the law that you put into place, go back and sort it there in Parliament because Zec does not make laws,” he said.

The electoral body has been at the receiving end of salvos over how it has been presiding over the country’s elections, as well producing a flawed voters roll, vote rigging and militarisation of its secretariat, among other accusations.

Mangwana also said Zec did not control the pre-electoral campaign environment.

“It’s not an electoral provision for Zec to manage campaigns. We do not approve campaigns, we don’t even talk about such issues; you drag us into the mud for nothing. Those are issues outside our mandate,” he said.

Mangwana blamed political party youths for causing voter apathy.

“There seems to be voter apathy among youths because you are the same people who want to be voted for. One day you go to your constituency and say vote for me, and the next day you say the election was rigged. Do you expect that young person to take you seriously?  Do you really think that young person will go to a voter registration centre and say I have come to register to vote?”

Meanwhile, Zanu PF youths caused chaos at the event as they tried to stop opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) youths from making contributions during the meeting.

4-H Zimbabwe Foundation director John Muchenje urged youths affiliated to different political parties to promote peace and tolerance in the country.

“We need to continue having similar engagements with these parties, as an organisation. This was just a Harare engagement, but we are planning on similar engagements in other provinces,” Muchenje said, adding that political intolerance and violence have taken centre stage in the country’s electoral

During the March 26 by-election campaign period, a CCC supporter Mboneni Ncube was killed in Kwekwe while attending a rally. There was also violence during the weekend by-elections in Chitungwiza, which resulted in several people being injured.