Now not the time to disengage, BZA leader Noah Manyika to Zimbabweans

'We took our time. We wanted to understand the whole thing and then figure out what was the best strategy'

Stay woke … Noah Manyika (centre) addressing a press conference on Thursday

“Now is not the time to disengage,” losing presidential candidate Noah Manyika said in Harare on Thursday, urging Zimbabweans to continue their new-found political activism, both at home and abroad.

Manyika, who leads the Build Zimbabwe Alliance, says Zimbabweans have made the mistake of only pressing for electoral reforms when elections are imminent – and there is never sufficient time to pressure those in political authority to even out the playing field.

“The reforms that we want, the electoral reforms, the arguments always happen at the wrong time in this country, they happen the year you have an election instead of having them now,” he told a press conference.

“If we want free elections in 2023, we must start pressing for reforms now. All those people in the diaspora don’t get disengaged because the election is over. It’s now that we must make sure you have the right to vote. We must insist that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) makes those arrangements.”

Over 4.5 million Zimbabweans voted in elections on July 30, and the election has dominated social media with millions of Zimbabweans in foreign countries actively involved – although being denied a right to vote.

The decision to deny them a vote came even after President Emmerson Mnangagwa, during a charm offensive to Davos in Switzerland, replied “definitely” when asked if Zimbabweans in the diaspora would be allowed to vote.

Manyika said pre-election complaints by the opposition about almost all aspects of the election remained unattended to, including state media bias.

“The airwaves; the public press, even up to today, the way they are covering this case (election petition by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa) is very telling. Their views are very skewed, there is an attempt to condition people for a certain judgment or outcome by diminishing the case by the opposition. The fact that they are doing that does not mean Chamisa’s case is weak.”

Of all the 22 presidential candidates cited as respondents by Nelson Chamisa in his election petition, only Mnangagwa and Manyika filed affidavits. Manyika is supporting Chamisa in his quest to have Mnangagwa’s narrow victory overturned on account of electoral fraud by ZEC.

“This is about upholding the constitution of Zimbabwe,” Manyika said. “If someone won fairly, I would have been the first one to say, ‘Your Excellency’, and congratulate them.

“The issue here, with this election, is that there are more people who voted than were registered. All the other things being said are just additional detail. If the numbers ZEC provided don’t add up, then there’s fraud. We don’t have to go further.

“We truly believe that the scale (of the fraud) is big enough for this result to be overturned. We believe there are over 30,000 votes that are suspect, that are out there. If you have these situations where more people voted more than should have, you quickly build up to more than 30,000 votes.”

In papers filed with the Constitutional Court, Manyika points out that Mnangagwa’s 50.8 percent outright win was just 31,830 votes above the threshold to avoid a runoff election.

“We took our time. We wanted to understand the whole thing and then figure out what was the best strategy (to challenge the result). I’m totally confident that we truly understand what happened now, and that our best remedy was to go to the Constitutional Court.

“I might sound like a broken record, but if more people voted at a polling station than were registered there, then there was fraud – it’s a simple fact. I don’t see how else the judges can rule. Even if they (Zanu PF) bring a report that is 3,000 pages, it doesn’t matter.”

Manyika said there was a sufficient body of evidence, some of it of a circumstantial nature, that when taken together meant the election result could not be considered credible.

“If you see a married man buying lunch for another woman everyday for six months, and never buying lunch for his wife, you have to conclude that there is something that’s wrong,” he said, using an analogy. “Some of the things don’t look proper. The appearance of evil is something that the law considers.”

He said “only a government with a clean mandate can unite people, otherwise you have a difficult time bringing everyone into your collective adventure.”

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Source: ZimLive

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