Zim opposition applauds army's neutrality, says it won't boycott polls

2018-07-07 15:30
Nelson Chamisa (File: AFP)

Nelson Chamisa (File: AFP)

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Zimbabwe's main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-Alliance) has reportedly said it won't pull out of the upcoming elections as its presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa commended the military's recent pledge not to meddle in the country's politics.

According to NewsDay, Chamisa said that the army's stance of neutrality ahead of the crunch vote showed that the military was there for the people.

"I am happy to hear that the army has vowed to follow the Constitution. That is good, they are there for the people. When (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa and Chamisa tussle in the political ring, they should step aside. But when Chamisa wins, they should salute, they will be saluting the government, not me," Chamisa was quoted as saying.

Chamisa has registered complaints with the Southern Africa Development Community and the African Union over the southern African nation's alleged electoral flaws ahead of the vote, said the report. 

The MDC-Alliance leader said the electoral playing field was not level and was tipped in Mnangagwa's favour.

Chamisa's remarks came a day after he reportedly threatened to unleash an "earthquake" to block the polls if Mnangagwa's government and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chief Priscilla Chigumba failed to ensure a "free, fair and credible" election. 

Previous elections marred by violence

Several red flags have been raised by the MDC-Alliance in the build-up to the elections as it continues to claim anomalies in the voters' roll, printing of ballots, specimen provisions and the militarised style of the ZEC, according to NewZimbabwe.com.  

"It is Mnangagwa who needs an earthquake to make sure Chigumba moves. We don't need an earthquake to make sure we have a free and fair election. But we will have one," Chamisa's spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda was quoted as saying.

An AFP report this week said Zimbabwe's military had vowed to stay neutral in the upcoming elections, dismissing suggestions it would deploy service personnel to influence the national polls scheduled for July 30.

The military was under close scrutiny following its brief takeover in November that led to the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe.

Previous elections under Mugabe were marred by violence, intimidation and fraud – often alleged to involve the security forces.

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