ZANU PF Secretary for Legal Affairs Paul Mangwana (pictured) Tuesday stormed out of a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) multi-party liaison meeting after heated exchanges with opposition political parties over ZEC’s alleged complicity with a Zanu PF rigging plot.
The meeting, which was chaired by ZEC Commissioner Qhubani Moyo, was the final in a series of interactive engagements between the commission and stakeholders ahead of Monday’s general elections.
The exchanges started when opposition political party representatives who attended the stormy meeting accused ZEC of being manipulated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his party.
The parties were also miffed by that they were the ones who continuously rowed with ZEC when Zanu PF seemed very content with the under-fire poll-based authority.
Tarisai Zivanai of Build Zimbabwe Alliance openly accused Zanu PF of being the main beneficiary from ZEC’s continued failure to heed opposition demands to level the political playing field.
“We do not trust ZEC,” he said, “Of all the proposals we made, nothing has been considered.
“Zanu PF has no complaints, and this is no surprise because it is a beneficiary of all these irregularities.”
But the mere mention of the ruling party by contributors incensed Mangwana who felt his party was unfairly being dragged into squabbles between ZEC and opposition parties.
Mangwana made repeated interjections each time Zanu PF was mentioned by political opponents.
“He has no right to insult us (Zanu PF). Just raise your issues with ZEC and stop insulting my party,” he charged.
Some opposition candidates said they were convinced Zanu PF was equipped with technology which ensured an X cast in favour of an opposition presidential candidate miraculously “migrated” into being a vote for a ruling party presidential candidate.
But Mangwana refused to take any more of the accusations, accusing his colleagues of speaking loudly about issues they did not understand. He challenged them to prove the claims.
“This is not a forum to accuse Zanu PF without foundation, please. Say your issue; don’t include us in your conversations. You can’t make accusations against us,” he said.
Accompanied by his United Kingdom based brother Munyaradzi Mangwana, the former legislator walked out of the meeting telling his opponents to “shut up”.
He later told journalists that followed him outside that he was infuriated by endless accusations directed at both ZEC and the ruling party.
“The challenge we are having is that people do not understand how these things work,” he said.
“When you have raised an issue with a constitutional body and if that body makes a ruling, you listen to the decision made and that is the end of the story.”
He added, “Right now, we have three people mandated by ZEC to announce the decision.
“Our duty was only to listen, but unfortunately, our colleagues started raising accusations against Zanu PF, which accusations are unfounded.
“Instead of engaging ZEC, they want to accuse our party. This is the reason I walked out.
“They must not waste our time. If you think you are not happy with the decision, you read the constitution again and it is so sad that whenever they think that they are losing an election, they want to accuse Zanu PF.”
Mangwana said the ruling party was content with the way ZEC was running the election.