MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has ruled out a boycott of the seven-member alliance in next Monday’s election‚ even though he expressed strong reservations around the credibility and transparency of the polls. Supporters gathered outside the party headquarters cheered Chamisa for his decision to participate in the election. “We can’t boycott our victory. Winners don’t quit. Winners don’t boycott‚” Chamisa told journalists at the MDC’s headquarters. At the heart of the tiff is the clash between the MDC Alliance and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The alliance accuses the ZEC of refusing to give it access to the voters roll and refusing to let it see the ballot paper — which‚ among other things‚ it believes will mysteriously see an X cast for Chamisa disappear and move to the box allocated to the incumbent‚ President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Chamisa is the strongest contender to Mnangagwa and was tipped by a recent poll by Afrobarometer to be trailing by only 3%‚ at 37% of votes compared to Mnangagwa’s 40%. The ZEC said that 5.6-million people are registered to take part in the election.
Chamisa urged citizens to turn out in large numbers next week in order to break the rigging mechanism that the ruling Zanu-PF had set up.
“This is the only way to ensure democratic change and to put an end to Zanu-PF’s stolen victories of the past‚” he said.
The growing tensions ahead of the poll were apparent‚ with water canon trucks and riot police dotted across parts of the Harare city centre. The increased police presence was in anticipation of the MDC Alliance defying a police ban against its plans to picket at the electoral commission’s offices until voting day.