President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba yesterday declined to comment on sensational claims by a British newspaper, Daily Mail on Sunday, alleging that the Zimbabwean leader planned to rig the country’s coming elections.
Charamba said he would not validate reports from foreign media houses.
“You want me to comment on a story by some British newspaper when you have never called me to comment on stories by Southern Eye?” he asked.
“I want to comment on something that has been generated by your paper.”
Pressed further that even MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai had made similar allegations at a rally in Gweru on the same day the story was published, Charamba would have none of it.
“You have never called me about a story that your paper has generated and now you want me to validate a story by some white journalist you don’t even know?” he quipped.
“I am not saying this in a political sense, but as a self-respecting Zimbabwean. You should generate your own news.”
In the report, the Daily Mail alleged that Zanu PF had paid Nikuv International Projects, an Israeli firm, $13 million to manipulate voter registration, counter unfavourable results and neutralise opposition votes.
The paper claimed that the Chinese government was helping with ballot rigging, advising on voter intimidation and providing jamming equipment to silence independent radio stations.
The British paper said 45 534 youths have been trained and deployed across the country as armed militia to “stem resistance”, with another 7 343 undergoing training and “mass reorientation classes” to be ready three days before polling.
It said security forces, “are adamant that six Zanu PF moderates” must be stopped from standing.
One of the named politicians, Edward Chindori-Chininga, died last month in a mysterious car crash.
“Funding for the covert campaign is coming from controversial diamond companies, the presidents of two African countries and prominent business figures from Britain, China and Zimbabwe,” the report continues.
“Millions of dollars are being directed towards leaders of Southern African countries providing independent election monitors to drum up support for poll credibility before, during and after elections.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo on the other hand, dismissed as ludicrous claims by Tsvangirai that the party was using the the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to rig the coming polls.
Tsvangirai told party supporters that Zanu PF was moving away from its violent campaigns but was manipulating ZEC to rig elections.
“Some things are not worth commenting on,” Gumbo said.
“This is so ridiculous. These MDC-T people do not know what they want. They want to always criticise ZEC.
“If they had printed the exact number, they would have complained again. We are not involved in the business of ZEC.”
Meanwhile, MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti has predicted violence, arson and kidnappings of party candidates this week towards elections.
“They have already started arrests. These will increase, targeting Harare North, East and Mount Pleasant MPs,” he posted on his Facebook wall, in contradiction to his party leader, Tsvangirai, who said the poll would be peaceful, but rigged.
“It is so sad that in this day and age, the natural primitive resort to violence and force is so automatic.
“Violence and force are the natural tools of failures, those unable to persuade or compromise.”