The MDC is worried that Utoile Silaigwana, a former army Major who joined ZEC as a serving military officer, has now been confirmed as the electoral body’s substantive chief elections officer.

Silaigwana’s substantive appointment with effect from 1 July 2019 is a testament to the fact that ZEC needs urgent reform if it is to retain its credibility among ordinary Zimbabweans and political players in the country.

Put simply, the appointment vindicates the fact that Zimbabwe is the true home of command elections which have resulted in losers occupying the seat of government while the winners are locked out.

It is pertinent to note that as a serving soldier, Silaigwana was part of the tainted ZEC secretariat that withheld election results for five weeks in 2008 in a plebiscite that SADC and the AU emphatically rejected as not reflective of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

As acting chief elections officer since March 2018, Silaigwana also presided over the disputed polls of July 30 last year which resulted in Mr Mnangagwa being controversially declared as President by the courts and not by the people, who are truly sovereign.

Silaigwana’s substantive appointment to the key position of chief elections officer within the country’s electoral body is all the more reason why a comprehensive reform agenda encompassing political, electoral and media reforms is imperative if Zimbabwe is to break from the vicious cycle of disputed elections.

The MDC has great respect for the military but we have always maintained that the place for our soldiers in the barracks. The military, whether serving or retired, have no place in civilian electoral processes.

It is unfortunate that Silaigwana’s appointment comes at a time when Zimbabweans are in the throes of an unmitigated economic crisis spawned by the stolen elections of 2018, in which ZEC spectacularly revised downwards its own figures a record three times.

Next week on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, the MDC will be launching RELOAD, a blueprint that encapsulates the party’s comprehensive agenda for a return to legitimacy.

RELOAD is our menu to return the Zimbabwe train back on the rails after the stolen election of 2018 which has resulted in an unprecedented economic meltdown in the country.

Silaigwana’s appointment yesterday is all the more reason why the country should embark on a comprehensive reform agenda if Zimbabwe is to break away from the cycle of disputed plebiscites and join the family of civilized nations.

Soon, the MDC under the leadership of President Chamisa will be leading the people of Zimbabwe in defining a new course for the country.

MDC 1999 – 2019: Celebrating 20 years of tenacity and courage

Luke Tamborinyoka
Deputy National Spokesperson
Movement for Democratic Change