Zim: MDC leader Chamisa threatens 'national shutdown'

Nelson Chamisa (File: AFP)
Nelson Chamisa (File: AFP)

Zimbabwean opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, has reportedly threatened a "national shutdown" if his Movement for Democratic Change Alliance's demands for transparency and electoral reforms in the forthcoming watershed polls are not met.

Speaking to his supporters in the  United Kingdom, Chamisa said that the MDC-T Alliance would not boycott this year's election but would mobilise its supporters to halt the vote, the privately owned NewsDay reported.

He said his party had the capacity to block the forthcoming polls if President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government failed to implement the necessary electoral reforms.

The opposition parties in the southern African country have tabled a number of demands which included de-militarisation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) secretariat, security of the vote and transparency in the production of ballot papers ahead of elections expected before the end of August.

"We have the people and if we make the call, the country will come to a standstill and that we can do. We are not joking about this. It is a matter of life and death.

Ballot printers

"We will not go into an election without an agreement on what type of election we are going to have. We still have three months, but there must be political will. Mnangagwa does not have the will to deliver a free and fair election because he knows we will humiliate him," Chamisa was quoted as saying.

This came as the southern African country's electoral body indicated recently that it won't go to tender over ballot printers.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said that it had already selected the company that would print ballot papers for forthcoming polls and won't put the job out to public tender because there was not enough time, the state Sunday Mail reported.

"Government has selected a company to print ballot papers and supply indelible ink for the forthcoming harmonised elections.... due to security and time considerations," the report said.

"The tender would normally have been announced in the Government Gazette [but]...it was felt there was not enough time to follow this process," the paper continued.

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