Some weeks ago, just before the elections, Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) were caught up in a sensational controversy. Both Zanu-PF and ZEC were accused of colluding in the sending of unsolicited bulk SMSs to people. The issue was somewhat ignored by some political parties until now, a week after election results were announced.
MDC Alliance, Zanu PF’s formidable opposition filed a petition with the issue of bulk SMSs as one of the reasons for challenging the election result. In the petition , MDC Alliance says that ZEC released the (phone numbers) database to Zanu-PF only but not to all political parties. Something which MDC Alliance states as unfair and discriminatory and contributing to Zanu-PF’s votes in the elections. Here is the part talking about bulk SMSs in MDC’s petition;
Section 3 (a) of the Electoral Act states that elections are to be conducted
“freely, fairly and transparently. Section 3 (c ) (v) states that every political party
has the right to have “reasonable access to all material and information for it to
participate in every election”.
During the election campaign two events happened which demonstrate the unfairness of ZEC in favour of ZANU PF/Mnangagwa and which were prejudicial to my interests. It is common cause that Mnangagwa obtained access to the unique combination of voters’ ward details and cellphone numbers. The SMS’s were sent out to voters’ cellphones encouraging them to vote for ZANU PF. When challenged about this ZANU PF said that they had got this data from their own sources from people who had indicated an interest in supporting ZANU PF. There were numerous reports at the time by people in response to that stating that they had never given such information to ZANU PF nor had they ever expressed any interest in supporting ZANU PF. Others pointed out that their addresses had only changed recently and that the only organization which had their addresses were ZEC. Cellphone service providers denied that they had given out the information to ZANU PF or anyone else for that matter. In other words the only possible source with the unique combination of ward details and cellphone numbers could have come from was ZEC. All voters who registered were required to give their current address and their cellphone numbers to ZEC who held that information. It is apparent from this that ZEC released that information to ZANU PF unfairly and in a discriminatory fashion in favour of ZANU PF and Mnangagwa. There are court records on this issue which will be placed before the court. In direct contrast to this I requested the full BVR version of the Voter’s Roll generated in terms of Section 20 (2) of the Act as read with section 9 of the Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations SI 85/2017 but my request was turned down for no apparent reason.