Leaked audio between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana and MDC Alliance secretary for elections Ian Makone has shown that the commission had been running stakeholder consultations since January this year.
Early this week, Zec spokesperson Joyce Kazembe admitted that Chamisa’s MDC Alliance was not invited to a Harare provincial stakeholder engagement meeting because the name of the party was under contention.
But 48 hours later, Silaigwana issued a statement claiming no political party had been excluded from the consultations.
In the leaked audio, Makone said he agreed with Silaigwana that the commission should be independent, but where stakeholders were being invited, the information should be generally shared. Silaigwana responded:
Aaa aaa, Mr Makone, this is not the first time we are consulting. We started at the beginning of the year, at the beginning of the year. We had been consulting and we had stakeholder meetings, we had meetings with the media, Parliament, etc.
We started meeting political parties at Parliament, which I am sure your political party is also part of. We met in Chinhoyi, we met in Darwendale, we met each other and this is a continuation of the stakeholder engagements.
Makone said his party had never been invited to all the meetings Silaigwana claimed to have convened. Makone said:
You invited political parties in Parliament, and I don’t know who was representing the MDC Alliance in those discussions.
In his statement released yesterday, Silaigwana claimed he invited all political parties, including civic organisations to the meetings.
However, an election watchdog Election Resource Centre (ERC), which had been agitating for electoral reforms, denied being invited to the meetings.
Silaigwana, however, said ZEC will ensure that all stakeholders get an opportunity to be invited to the round table, whose purpose is to share information and discuss topical electoral issues.