By Beaven Dhliwayo.
MDC T leader Nelson Chamisa and nine other national standing committee members on Tuesday held a two-hour briefing with the seven-member SADC Electoral Advisory Council at the party’s headquarters ahead of the watershed polls due in a few months’ time.
Chamisa told the delegation, led by Advocate Leshele Thoahlane, that the Zimbabwe government has not been sincere on its commitment to a free, fair and credible plebiscite as it had not yet made public in substantive terms the roadmap to the next election.
He bemoaned the fact that the recommendations made by SADC in the 2013 election in terms of the implementation of key reforms had not yet been done, among them media reforms that would ensure equal coverage of all contesting parties.
Accompanying President Chamisa was Vice President Hon. Engineer Elias Mudzuri, Secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, secretary for elections Hon. Murisi Zwizwai, treasurer-general Hon. Theresa Makone, deputy national chairperson Hon Morgan Komichi, youth assembly chairperson Happymore Chidziva, Women’s assembly chairperson Hon. Karenyi Kore, deputy treasurer-general Mr Charlton Hwende, deputy national organizer Hon. Amos Chibaya and senior directors of the party.
The MDC leader raised issues to do with violence, the abuse of traditional leaders, the opaqueness around the printing and auditing of ballots as well as the auditing of the voters roll. With a few months to go before the next election, there was neither agreement nor clarity on these key electoral matters.
Chamisa implored the SADC observer team to ensure that Zimbabwe complies with the SADC guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections, adding that only a credible plebiscite would ensure a return of confidence and legitimacy in the country.
The party’s secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said the government had starkly refused to implement key issues that would have assured stakeholders, among them, issues to do with the auditing of the voters roll as well as the printing and auditing of the ballot papers, including the identity of the company that would print the ballots.
Notwithstanding the clear Constitutional provision and SADC guidelines on the conduct of elections, the government through the Ministry of Justice has refused to allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to exercise their right to vote.
The party also told the SADC observer team that Zimbabweans wanted the army to undo their previous statements that they would not salute a President who did not participate in the liberation struggle by making a clear and unequivocal statement that they will this time respect the sovereign will of the people.
Secretary for elections Hon. Murisi Zwizwai expressed concern that polling station mapping had been done in a manner that prejudiced the areas perceived to be opposition party strongholds.
Another concern raised to the SADC team was the parlous state of the country’s economy, which made citizens susceptible to the control of Zanu PF through partisan food distribution, among other voter manipulation methods.
Chamisa urged SADC to be in solidarity with the Zimbabwean citizens and not with the country’s leaders by ensuring that the ordinary people’s sovereign will is guaranteed and protected.
On its part, the SADC team assured the party leadership that they will do all they can to ensure that Zimbabwe holds a truly free, fair and credible poll.
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