*Widespread tampering with boxes * ZEC plans ambush tactic
BY CHIEF REPORTER
There has been widespread tampering with ballot boxes before the partial recount in 23 constituencies that started on Saturday, with ballot box seals broken in all constituencies and crucial documents missing.
While the results in the constituencies that had been counted by Tuesday morning showed little or no difference at all with the initial returns, all the seals on the ballot boxes had been tampered with, with ballot books or V11 forms that are sealed inside the boxes after the initial count missing.
In Zvimba North, although there was a marginal difference of two votes from the tallies that emerged from the April 19 recount, there was no checklist from the first count. The seals on the ballot boxes were broken and there were no V11 forms.
At Vilawa polling station, the ballot box and the V11 forms were missing from the boxes.
At Mafuta Farmhouse polling station, ballot boxes for presidential and House of Assembly elections were missing, with two books from another polling station found inside the box. The tallies from the recount were however exactly the same from the first round of voting.
At Inkari resettlement polling station, the ballot book was missing from the box. At Chininga Primary School polling station, V11 forms were missing, the ballot book was missing and the box was not sealed.
In Zaka West, at Saraume polling station where they had completed the recount by Tuesday, the results remained the same. In Gutu West, there were no V11 forms inside ballot boxes at all polling stations. In Gutu South, recounting had not yet started by Tuesday as Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials were still going through the voters roll.
In Bikita West at Ward 23, recounting ran well into the night, ending at 2000hrs in the dark on April 19. There results remained the same. The Zimbabwean could not immediately establish what was going on at other constituencies.
But sources told The Zimbabwean that ZEC had instructions to start announcements of results where the recount results tallied with the first count and then use an “ambush tactic” to end the announcement with constituencies where there were massive differences.
A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Utoile Silaigwana, said the recount would take longer than the three days originally predicted but refused to give a precise day for its completion.
Dianne Kohler-Barnard, an opposition South African parliamentarian observing the recount as part of the SADC observer team, dismissed the recount as “fatally flawed.”
Post published in: News