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Jonathan Moyo withdraws offer to train MDC-A poll agents

Prof. Jonathan Moyo

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BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
SELF-EXILED former minister Jonathan Moyo has withdrawn an offer to train MDC Alliance polling agents ahead of the elections expected in 2023, claiming the opposition party failed to take a clear position on the proposal.

Moyo said the MDC Alliance failed to make its position clear after an online publication said the offer had divided the opposition party, with some named officials said to have vowed to resist it.

Zanu PF officials ridiculed Moyo.
The former Higher and Tertiary Education minister in September offered to support MDC Alliance polling agents at all polling stations in the Tsholotsho constituency and to train 44 000 polling agents.

“When neither the mentioned senior MDC Alliance officials nor the party clarified the situation, on the back of growing messages on various social media platforms that were sharing the article coupled with direct messages that were asking for my position, I wrote to the MDC Alliance secretary-general (Charlton Hwende) on October 11, 2021, withdrawing my offer to train MDC Alliance polling agents in Tsholotsho and to train the party’s 44 000  polling agents for the 2023 elections, citing the party’s silence,” Moyo said in an emailed response.

The MDC Alliance was found wanting in the 2023 elections after failing to field polling agents in several polling stations.

The opposition party rejected the 2018 election results, but admitted that it did not have data from a fifth of the nearly 11 000 polling stations due to lack of polling agents.

“My offer was based on having previously trained polling agents in particular, but generally, after having been directly involved in six elections — four of them as a candidate in 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2015 — and three of them as Zanu PF’s publicity campaign manager in 2000, 2002 and 2013,” Moyo added.

“I also managed and co-ordinated the publicity campaign of the “Yes Vote” in the referendum of the 2000 draft constitution. Besides this direct participation in elections, I have run seminars and given numerous lectures and written articles and two books on elections in Zimbabwe.”

Hwende said the opposition party was still considering Moyo’s offer.

“We took note of the offer to assist Zimbabweans in defending their vote through training and also offering assistance. I have talked to a number of people who have also offered some form of help and once the modalities are in place, we will reach out to him and other Zimbabweans that have offered assistance,” Hwende said in a telephone interview.

MDC A Secretary General Charlton Hwende

Moyo, however, said without trained polling agents, it was difficult to back claims of election rigging.

“And sadly, while it is now taken as a given that every election in Zimbabwe since 1980, but particularly since 2000, has been stolen, the fact is that this axiomatic belief is not supported by any empirical evidence because there is none.”

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