The late Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi and chairperson Justice Rita Makarau
The late Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi and chairperson Justice Rita Makarau

ACCORDING to The Zimbabwe Independent of July 11 2014, a major shake up was looming at the scandal-ridden Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) after internal audits unearthed serious fraud involving inflating the 2013 general election budget, fraudulent procurement of election materials and missing fuel coupons.

Nehanda Radio was also alarmed by the death of four ZEC officials (then) in a period of three months.

The causes of deaths range from suspected foul play to poisoning, heart, lung and renal failure, to name a few.

Of interest and concern are the positions and nature of information that the deceased had access to. The said late officials — chief elections officer, director of administration, director of information, to director of public relations, held positions of immense confidentiality.

Besides the ongoing audits and invitations by the CID Serious Crime Squad of the administration personnel, ZEC is custodian of classified and privileged election data.

This reminds one of the Prince Nkulumane, who accepted the throne of his father Mzilikazi ka Matshobana, before verifying the death of the King.

When King Mzilikazi later on pitched up, selected chiefs were instructed to take him to his maternal relatives. History ends with Nkulumane being taken to his maternal relatives.

It is strongly believed that Nkulumane was eliminated. Akukho langa elaphuma elinye lingakatshoni, meaning no King can be enthroned while the King is alive.

There are more questions than answers in the ZEC deaths saga. Are the deaths natural as some quarters would want the nation to believe? Looking at the causes of deaths, one’s cynicism is further deepened.

Other officials are said to have succumbed to poisoning, heart, lung and renal failure.

Agreed, these are natural causes of death. However, it cannot be denied that such causes of death may be induced by poisoning or other factors.
Slow poisoning is known to cause cancers, respiratory and renal failures, among other sicknesses. In fact, poisoning kills by rendering critical organs of the body dysfunctional.

Of note is the fact that the dispute over the 2013 general election is far from being over.

Justice Alfred Mavedzenge recently filed an application to the ConCourt demanding the release of the soft copy of the voters’ roll and ZEC was opposed to the application.

Parties have been asked to submit heads of argument to the ConCourt, stating why the said soft copy can be or cannot be made accessible.

SW Radio Africa on June 5 2014 quoted ordinary Zimbabweans in the social media fuming that the late chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramai had taken his secrets to the grave.

Zim Eye on June 16 2014 remarked: “Mystery has rocked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), as five senior officers dropped dead within a space of just 150 days.”

A risky mission pays lucratively. Before the advent of technology, each day miners went underground, they would bid farewell to their families as anything could happen in the mine.

Technology has, however, minimised these accidents except for the gold-panners (amakorokoza) who still grapple with those antic dangers of yesteryear.

Back to Prince Nkulumane allegory, when embarking on a risky business, be prepared for any eventuality, be it good or bad.

The nation is yearning to know what is eating ZEC officials. ZEC and indeed the nation is poorer without those “sharp minds”. May the truth be fathomed into this disturbing development.

Next time around people will be scared to join the ranks of ZEC.

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