In the latest of President Mugabe’s numerous ways of stifling the opposition MDC’s efforts of winning the upcoming presidential elections in 2008, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is being used to campaign for Zanu Pf in the rural areas.
ZEC has now deviated from its mandate of ensuring the smooth flow of elections in a neutral way and has been going around in the rural areas giving identity documents to the rural masses encouraging them to vote for the ruling party Zanu Pf.
A galloping inflation rate, runaway prices and dwindling forex reserves has seen the ruling party and the president losing support in the urban areas and therefore his strength now lies in the rural areas.
On the 15th of June 2007 ZEC donning Zanu Pf regalia gathered people in Zvimba area and encouraged them to acquire identity documents in order to enable them to register for voting. According to a 37-year-old man (name supplied and withheld for security reasons), the officials registered him without any documentation that is required in order for one to vote. According to the Registrar of Births and deaths Tobaiwa Mudede, a person is supposed to be a citizen of Zimbabwe and must hold a valid Birth certificate in order for them to be able to get an identity document.
But for ZEC officials sent by Mugabe these stipulated requirements can be bypassed at any given time in order for President Mugabe to win elections.This man who has not held an identity document all his life was given one in minutes.“When I got to the registering official I told him that I did not have a birth certificate but he didn’t say anything. Instead he started issuing my id”, said Mr. Tembo (not his real name)
Since 2000 Civic organizations have been pressing for measures that ensure a conducive environment for a free and fair election so as to minimize Mugabe’s chances of rigging. This has seen the emergence for several government related arms such as ZEC, which are being, use to thwart these initiatives.