Harare – Zimbabwe’s opposition on Sunday accused state powers of attempting to rig next month’s elections by manipulating the electoral roll.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa said government security agents warned him of a rigging plot and that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had been confronted over a “shambolic” voters’ roll.
The ZEC is accused of changing voters from one polling district to another without their knowledge and of working with Zimbabwe’s national intelligence agency to manipulate the vote.
The leader of @CCCZimbabwe @nelsonchamisa says he is confident his party will do well during the coming elections in Zimbabwe. He was speaking at a rally in Harare Zimbabwe. #sabcnews @ephido pic.twitter.com/j781o48oQ8
— Sophie Mokoena (@Sophie_Mokoena) February 20, 2022
“We should vote in numbers because it is difficult to rig when the turnout is huge,” Chamisa, a veteran opposition politician, told his supporters at his party’s campaign launch in the capital Harare.
“We are scrutinising the voters’ roll. If they don’t allow that we go to the courts. If the courts fail, we will go on the streets to demonstrate.”
Zimbabwe will vote in local and parliamentary by-elections on March 26, seen as a dress rehearsal for general elections in 2023 at which President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF party seeks to gain a parliamentary majority.
The southern African nation has endured a rocky path of disputed elections since 2000.
This proves that @nelsonchamisa is the most POPULAR leader in Zimbabwe.
They put up roadblocks, they harassed, arrested & ruthlessly beat up his supporters at Harare police station on Friday, but the citizens came out in massive numbers regardless of those hurdles.#YellowSunday pic.twitter.com/z5WLrcLyVi
— Hopewell Chin’ono (@daddyhope) February 20, 2022
A court decided the result of the close-fought 2018 presidential vote, the first after longtime ruler Robert Mugabe stood down, which Chamisa insists he won instead of Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa, who took power in 2017 after Mugabe ruled for 37 years, is regularly accused of muzzling dissidents.
Police maintained a heavy presence on major roads leading to the rally, which came after at least 80 CCC activists were arrested for campaigning in the city of Masvingo.
Although the rally was largely peaceful, concerns were raised over intermittent internet connectivity.
According to watchdog NetBlocks, internet service was degraded for many users, limiting live streaming services from the rally.