THE fallout from the disputed July 30 general election has not spared the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), the country’s largest non-governmental poll watchdog.
Targeted for criticism by opposition supporters over its sample-based survey which was consistent with the official presidential poll results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), ZESN has faced unsubstantiated accusations of bias.
Now, the watchdog appears to be the target of a misinformation campaign.
On 19 August 2018, ZESN had to issue a statement disowning a notice of an emergency meeting of its board, which was circulating on social media, chiefly WhatsApp.
According to the fake ‘notice’, it had come to the ZESN board’s attention “that members of the secretariat and the Director, Rindai Chipfunde Vava have been working with state elements to cover up election fraud committed by ZEC.”
“We further have credible evidence that Ms Rindai Chipfunde Vava has been promised to be substantive Chief Elections Officer (CEO) at ZEC after Mnangagwa’s inauguration,” read the fake notice.
Andrew Makoni, who chairs the ZESN board, told ZimFact that the purported notice of a board meeting to be held on 23 August 2018 were false.
“There is no such meeting at ZESN, that was a fake news item, when we are calling for a meeting we use official channels we don’t do that via press statements,” he said.
Below is the text of the fake message and ZESN’s response:
FOR URGENT RELEASE
19 August 2018
On behalf of the board and all members of Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), I hereby call for an Extraordinary General Meeting on 23 August 2018 to among other things consider the controversial report on the 30 July 2018 harmonised elections. It has come to the attention of the Board that members of the secretariat and the Director, Rindai Chipfunde Vava have been working with state elements to cover up election fraud committed by ZEC. We further have credible evidence that Ms Rindai Chipfunde Vava has been promised to be substantive Chief Elections Officer (CEO) at ZEC after Mnangagwa’s inauguration.
The agenda is as follows:
- Review of the 2018 elections programmatic report with special emphasis on the contentious Parallel Voter Tabulation results.
- Leadership renewal in the Secretariat
- Review of the 2018 financial report
Date: Thursday 23 August 2018
Time: 9am- 3pm
Venue: ZESN offices
Board Of Trustees