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Zimbabwe Elections Chief Refers Allegations of Security Infiltration to Unity Partners

Zimbabwe Election Commission Chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe told VOA that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has yet to formally approach the election administration body regarding alleged security service infiltration

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe has advised Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to call a meeting of the three unity government principals to discuss charges by his Movement for Democratic Change formation that the commission’s executive staff includes members of the state security apparatus including members of the Central Intelligence Organization and the army.

The head of the reformed electoral commission - its predecessor was widely criticized for slow delivery of results and suspected vote tampering in the disastrous 2008 elections – told VOA that Mr Tsvangirai has yet to formally approach his election monitoring body regarding the alleged security service infiltration.

The MDC said in a statement that security service infiltration dated from the year 2000.

A statement issued by the former opposition party said the June 2000 parliamentary election and the presidential election of 2002 were run by the military. “The 2002 presidential elections were run as a purely military operation. The military took over all electoral management processes from Tobaiwa Mudede the registrar general, and from newly created ZEC, then headed by Colonel Sobuza Gula-Ndebele." the MDC statement said.

According to the MDC statement, the military set up a national command center in the former Sheraton Hotel in Harare (now the Rainbow Towers Hotel) to which the opposition was denied access.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a top official in President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, has responded with advertisements in the state controlled, pro-ZANU-PF Herald newspaper declaring that "labor laws do not allow any employees to be engaged by two companies or organizations at the same time and be double salaried." The MDC has threatened to go public with the names of the alleged security agency officials implanted in ZEC.

Mutambanengwe said he will not let his commission be dragged into "party politics."

Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya said it is no secret that the commission is loaded with members past or present of the security services, and urged Zimbabweans to demand reform of the electoral body's secretariat.