The head of the opposition party, the MDC, Douglas Mwonzora, has claimed that ZANU PF directed the European Union (EU) to withdraw three million euros allocated for political parties in Zimbabwe to train and deploy polling agents.
He made the comments during an interview with Blessed Mhlanga on Heart and Soul TV, where he explained his decision to withdraw from the presidential election in 2023.
Mwonzora also raised concerns about the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) using an “illegal” and “unconstitutional” delimitation report, which he believed was designed to manipulate election outcomes.
Mwonzora highlighted the MDC’s disadvantage due to the disqualification of 87 of its candidates under biased and unfair circumstances.
He criticised the ZEC’s handling of the disqualification cases, describing it as “vindictive” and suggesting that it was setting the MDC up for failure. He said:
In addition to that, the high-level political platform that is the platform headed by the Zim Institute which is made up of the CCC (Citizens Coalition for Change led by Nelson Chamisa), ZANU PF and the MDC secured financial resources from the European Union to the tune of 3 million euro for training and deployment of polling agents.
So each political party was supposed to get roughly about 1 million euro for the deployment and training of polling agents.
ZANU PF has vetoed that unilaterally and told the European Union to take back its money. In other words, they have made it impossible for the other political parties – the CCC, my party the MDC to secure polling agents and to pay polling agents and the reason is very very clear, they want an election that is not free and fair. The opposition is being set up by ZANU PF, is being set up by the government of (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa to perform badly and as the MDC we could not put up with that.
The MDC currently has only 24 Parliamentary candidates remaining after 87, plus an additional 73, were disqualified.
Mwonzora explained that the disqualification of the 73 candidates was based on general reasons, such as being nominated by individuals outside their respective constituencies which he attributed to confusion caused by the ZEC’s delimitation process.
He stated that the party is not lodging a complaint specifically regarding the disqualification of the 73 candidates since their disqualification was based on universally applicable grounds.
Mwonzora accused the ZEC of being vindictive due to the MDC’s challenge against the commission’s Delimitation report, which the party sought to have nullified.
Polling agents play a crucial role in elections.
They are representatives appointed by political parties to monitor polling stations and ensure a fair voting process.
In the 2018 elections, the MDC Alliance, then led by Nelson Chamisa, faced challenges when they failed to deploy agents at certain polling stations.
The party alleged that rigging was prevalent at those polling stations. Unfortunately, without their polling agents present, the party couldn’t provide evidence to support the allegations.
Polling agents serve as watchdogs, safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process and enabling parties to address any irregularities or concerns that arise during voting.
- ZiMetro News