Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leaders Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti have threatened to camp outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices from tomorrow until election day on 30 July if the electoral body fails to address their demands for transparency in the printing of ballot papers by the end of business today.
Addressing a rally in Masvingo yesterday Biti said they would be leading from the front.
“We will be leading from the front, we will be living on the streets. We are not going to allow this election to be stolen. They can kill us. We are prepared to die for free, fair and credible elections. We have given ZEC a deadline and if they don’t address the issues raised in the petition by Monday, then we will be living on the streets,” Biti said, according to Newsday.
“We have said this over and over again, there will be no voting. Some people talk about us boycotting the election, I don’t know where they get that. We are not boycotting, there will be no election.”
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front deputy Secretary for Legal Affairs Munyaradzi Mangwana dismissed the opposition threats as “inconsequential”.
“Does the MDC have a country or they are just a political party that is in a country which has a government? They cannot tell this nation what it can and cannot do. They are one of the 55 political parties participating in an election. So where do they get the authority to do declarations as if they are the ruling party?” he was quoted by Newsday as asking.
“Whether they like it or not, there will be an election. If they disturb the election, the law and order sector will deal with them. As ZANU-PF, we are not bothered at all, they can declare, they can talk all sorts of nonsense. After all, nobody has forced them to participate in an election. There is going to be an election in Zimbabwe and if the MDC wants to participate, they are free,” Mangwana said.
Chamisa told the rally in Masvingo that there would be no elections if ZEC does not meet his grouping’s key demands — transparency in the printing of the ballot papers and security of the votes.
“We have to agree on the ballot paper. We say no to a bond ballot, a fake ballot which is pre-determined, but we want a ballot that we all agree on. So ZEC is joking when it says they have finished printing the ballot paper. We say to hell with that. We are going to the poll after agreeing on a proper ballot paper,” he said.
Last week Chamisa said he would be dispatching Biti to lobby Southern African Development Community leaders so it is not clear how he will also be at the front of the proposed sit-in.