JUSTICE Chigumba, the ZEC Chair, briefing observers at the Harare International Conference Centre earlier today, doubled down on a trend of refusing or failing the transparency test. She is within the law on everything she has done, but ignoring the key test of transparency impacts massively on the credibility of this poll, to the detriment of whoever end up winning this election.

We have always defended ZEC against the baseless accusation thrown against them by an opposition that is bent discrediting the election in the hope of it being declared not free and fair and thereby, hopefully, forcing a Government of National Unity with Nelson Chamisa as Prime Minister, but the needless lack of transparency by the electoral body is now wildly carvoting in sabotage territory.

Take Justice Chigumba's briefing with Observers today at the Harare International Conference Centre.

One thing that has raised alarm bells is her announcement that the electoral body will not be using indelible ink this time around.

This is fine, it is their prerogative. But it is definitely not transparent or helpful to whoever is going to win the election when all said done.

From reports by The Herald (who, unfortunately, appear to be the only ones really reporting on the ground to the shame of all other so-called media houses), she did not say what they will now be using instead of the indelible ink.

This is negligence of probity, if we want to be very charitable.

Why is the ZEC Chair so intent on not demonstrating transparency? The opposition are right to ask what she and the Commission are hiding.

Yes, there is the law and we will always defend her and her Commission against unlawful and vexatious demands such as the ones coming from the Alliance.

But there is no law that forbids her from being transparent.

Some us do know that there have been concerns around indelible ink coming from the 1980 elections. Our parents inform us that back then, Mugabe's supporters were able to vote multiple times simply by using Coca cola to wash off the ink and turn up again to vote, at a different polling station.

So that is a concern that could possibly be behind dumping indelible ink this time around (people may have found a way to remove it and ZEC knows may have been alerted to this). And yes, this would also explain why the electoral body would also be reticent about stating this in public.

But there is neither legal nor moral law that forbids the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission from stating that they 1. The reason why they will not tell the public now what it is going to replace indelible ink. 2. Telling the public whether (and when) we will be informed of what it is that will replace the indelible, be it before or after voting.

This, coming hot on the heels of the dog's breakfast that was the Ross Camp voting scandal yesterday, definitely adds to impression of not only arrogance but also impunity in the eyes of neutral observers like ourselves.

It may be that ZEC is not doing anything shady or underhand. Our position and belief is that they are indeed running this election legally, and professionally. However, we can not say that they are running the process transparently.

And transparency is key.

If we follow the law but neglect transparency, we throw doubt on credibility. And credibility is a key pillar of the journey that will result in Zimbabwe emerging from isolation and being embraced by the international community as a sanitised nation.

Why on earth would Justice Chigumba think that this pillar is dispensable? Why?

This is a critical, critical election. Justice Chigumba clearly knows this.

To quote Julius Caesar about why he had to divorce his wife, Pompeia, even though the courts had acquitted her and the young man who had transgressed Roman law:

"The wife of caesar must be above suspicion". Or, as expressed more succinctly: "The wife of Caesar must be beyond reproach."

We certainly would hope that this opaqueness if also not being displayed to the observers. We hope that reasons why and rationale is being given to them behind closed.

If not, there is no doubt whatsoever in our minds that Nelson Chamisa, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Nkosana Moyo, Joyce Mujuru and other presidential candidates' supporters will all universally and hold ZEC and Justice Chigumba the authors of our misfortunes when and if our isolation continues as a result of an an election compromised by this lack of transparency.


Popular posts from this blog

Who Killed Elliot Manyika?


Makoni Confidant Dies