Team Pachedu, a civic society group based in Zimbabwe, has announced the development of an application called Mandla which they said incorporates robust security features aimed at countering any dissemination of fraudulent data by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
According to Team Pachedu, Mandla possesses the ability to promptly audit the votes recorded at each polling station. They stated:
In developing the App we created security features that will counter any fake figures from @ZECzim in real-time. The focus is not only the V11 but what goes into it. Mandla has the capability to instantly audit votes of each PS. We will not get tired of protecting the vote.
In 2018, the opposition MDC Alliance, then under the leadership of Nelson Chamisa, alleged that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), in collusion with the ruling party ZANU PF, had engaged in electoral fraud to favour ZANU PF’s presidential candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The dispute escalated to the courts, where the MDC Alliance was requested to present polling station return forms (V.11) as evidence of the alleged manipulation of the electoral process. However, the MDC Alliance failed to produce the V.11 forms.
If the Mandla app is capable of providing the V.11 forms from each polling station, any potential data manipulation at the national command centre would be rendered ineffective. This is because there would be concrete evidence showcasing the voting patterns at every polling station, thus countering claims of electoral tampering. In 2018, the MDC Alliance asserted that ZEC had manipulated figures, inflating Mnangagwa’s vote count to ensure his victory over Nelson Chamisa.
Pindula News reached out to Team Pachedu to gain an understanding of how their application functions and to clarify any concerns regarding potential legal violations. Team Pachedu explained that their application serves as a vote tabulation system. They further explained the process as follows:
Upon the announcement of results at polling stations, agents will then capture the results and the national totals will be tallied together in real time.
Team Pachedu emphasized that the system results cannot be objected to by authorities. This is because the results are sourced from valid Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) results posted publicly outside the polling stations. Team Pachedu said:
Authorities cannot object to the system results because first, the results will be valid ZEC results that are posted outside the polling stations and second, we do not intend to announce the results as the official results nor to declare any candidate to have been duly elected. The tabulation system complies with Section 66A(1) and Section 66A(2) of the Electoral Act.
Team Pachedu clarified that with data quality assurance in mind and to comply with Section 66 of the Electoral Act, for now, only ZEC-approved agents shall be using the system once their parties give the green light.