Zimbabwe opposition party MDC Alliance won’t boycott vote despite worries

The leader of Zimbabwe’s biggest opposition party is rejecting the idea of boycotting elections on Monday despite what he calls a biased election commission.

Nelson Chamisa, head of the MDC opposition party, on Wednesday urged supporters to vote “overwhelmingly for change” in the first election since the November resignation of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Mr Chamisa said at a news conference that Zimbabwe’s election commission has not addressed the MDC’s concerns, including alleged media manipulation, problems with the voters’ roll and ballot papers and reports of food distribution to voters by the ruling Zanu-PF party.

“We can’t boycott our victory,” he says. “Winners don’t quit.”

Chamisa says Zimbabwe’s election panel has not addressed his party’s concerns about a number of issues, including reports of food distribution to voters by the ruling party and alleged problems with the voters’ roll.

He says there has been “a consistent negation of international standards.”

Mr Mnangagwa, a former deputy president who took over after Mr Mugabe stepped down under military and ruling party pressure, has promised a free and fair election as he seeks to have international sanctions lifted. Past votes have been marred by violence and irregularities.

Monday’s vote is the first without Mr Mugabe on the ballot since independence from white minority rule in 1980.

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