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MDC-T Goes Back to SADC, Claims Voters' Roll Fraud

Finance Minister Tendai Biti
Finance Minister Tendai Biti
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which says it is participating in this year’s elections under protest, has written to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), guarantors of the unity government, complaining of massive irregularities in the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise it says are titled to give Zanu PF room to steal the vote.

The party also says it is concerned by the resurgence of political violence ahead of the July 31 polls.

Addressing a press conference in the capital Wednesday, MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti said his party has been forced to go back to SADC, especially after Zanu PF refused to implement media and other democratic reforms that could have made the poll credible.

Biti said massive irregularities were recorded in the voter registration exercise which saw more 300,000 people failing to add their names onto the voters’ lists in Harare alone.

The MDC-T wants the exercise to be extended to next Friday to mop-up all eligible voters.

Biti said charged that an Israel company called Nikuv International Projects is working with Zanu PF and the Registrar General’s Office to tamper with the voters’ roll ahead of the elections.

He says all political parties should analyse and agree on the roll that will be used in the election once the process to add new voters is completed.

Biti said the agreed voters roll should be kept by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

He said his party has also complained to the commission about the number of police officers who have applied to vote early, adding ZEC has advised them to wait until it has finished processing the applications.

Biti said since last Sunday, cases of violence have gone up around the country with several MDC-T activists being arrested.

He said MDC-T campaign posters are being pulled down in some areas. Today some MDC-T activists on a door to door campaign were severely assaulted in Southerton constituency, Harare.

He explains MDC-T deputy youth chairperson, Costa Machingauta, was arrested in Budiriro for no apparent reason.

Biti said police also barred him from holding a campaign rally in his Harare East constituency.

He said because Zimbabwe ignored SADC resolutions on media and security sector reforms, the regional body must make a pronouncement on whether Zimbabwe’s elections will be credible.

The finance minister also reiterated that treasury has no money to fund the elections. He said he held talks Wednesday with four countries which he did not name over poll funding.

Biti previously said he had approached South Africa and Angola to help fund the elections.

He said if there was transparency in the mining and selling of diamonds in the country, Zimbabwe would have been able to fund its polls without a problem.

Meanwhile, sources in Mutare say police have banned all political meetings in the city until after July 31, a move that is likely to attract the wrath of political parties challenging Zanu PF in the upcoming polls.

Police Wednesday banned a non-governmental meeting to discuss national healing and reconciliation. The meeting had been organized by the Peace Building Network.

Police sources told VOA Studio 7 initially political meetings had been banned for this week ahead of President Robert Mugabe’s trip to the eastern border city Friday but has been extended to cover the whole election campaign period.

The ban follows Saturday’s arrest of four civic organization employees who were on a voter education road show in the city.