NGO denounces “intimidation” of voters in Zimbabwe

Rights activists on Tuesday accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), where presidential and parliamentary elections are due to be held in August, of disclosing the phone numbers of voters who they say have received “intimidation” messages from the ruling party. NGO denounces “intimidation” of voters in Zimbabwe:

NGO denounces "intimidation" of voters in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance supporters lead by Nelson Chamisa march for electoral reforms to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in the streets of the capital Harare on July 11, 2018. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)

NGO denounces “intimidation” of voters in Zimbabwe:

According to local NGO Team Pachedu, voters, some of them newly registered, have received personalized text messages in Shona (the local language), including the name of the constituency to which they belong and signed with the name of President Emmerson Mnagwa, who is running for re-election.

“This information is only on the new voters’ list and only the ZEC (electoral commission) is supposed to have access to it,” the organization said.

In addition, “the people who receive the messages are new registrants” as well as opposition supporters “who have never provided their details” to the ruling Zanu-PF, added Team Pachedu. The organization has declared its intention to sue.

When asked, the electoral commission denied providing any contact information. “We have not given anything to anyone,” said its vice president, Rodney Simukai Kiwa. “We are shocked to hear that,” he added.

When contacted by the media, Zanu-PF did not respond. According to Team Pachedu, the “intimidation tactic” of sending text messages on private numbers had already been used during the last elections in 2018.

The organization had denounced irregularities in the division of electoral districts last month. President Mnangagwa is regularly accused of muzzling the opposition. But unable to raise an economy in crisis for the past twenty years, he faces a growing discontent.

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