Bulawayo parliamentary candidates on Wednesday clashed with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) over allegations the elections body ‘leaked’ voter mobile phone details to Zanu PF to give the ruling party a platform to campaign.
Zec was taken to task by the contesting candidates during its weekly “meet the candidates workshop” held in the city.
Early this week, people received text messages on their mobile phones from Zanu PF soliciting for their votes, angering the opposition. The opposition accused the Zec of forwarding the voters’ contact details, adding that this was part of a vote rigging exercise.
In a Press release yesterday, Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba, however, dismissed the claims as false.
“The commission would like to assure the public that details on the voters’ roll are for use by the comission only, and no one else,” she said.
Independent candidate for Bulawayo Central, Josh Mhambi queried why only Zanu PF was privileged with such important information.
“We note that Zanu PF has had access to the voters’ roll and are sending us messages through their presidential candidate Emerson Mnangagwa. We are concerned and wonder whether this is safe, let alone legal,” said Mhambi.
Zapu Bulawayo Central parliamentary candidate, Thembani Maphosa threatened to take Zec to court for sending the text messages to opposition supporters without consulting them.
“We do not need any explanation from Zec. Neither is this a mere concern to be addressed in other ways. We want to be given access to the voters’ roll information just like Zanu PF. This is in the spirit of fairness. We should walk the talk when we both say we need a free, fair and credible election. Let the playing field be level,” he said.
Alfred Dzirutwe, the provincial spokesperson of the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC T told the meeting that his party was convinced that Zec provided Zanu PF with the personal contact details of the voters.
“That information in Zanu PF hands cannot be obtained from any other source except Zec itself. As such we demand to also have the information availed to all other contestants in all constituencies,” said Dzirutwe.
This comes at a time when the opposition has raised a red flag surrounding Zec’s trustworthiness to conduct a free, fair and credible election.