President Parly speech challenged

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The Global Political Agreement (GPA), which led to the formation of a unity government, has failed to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections, MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabita Khumalo has said.

“The President said the parties in the GPA have now agreed on key milestones and timelines in preparations for the holding of national elections, yet political violence is still being perpetrated in Zimbabwe,” Khumalo said.

The Bulawayo East MP said this Wednesday while contributing to a debate on a motion on the presidential address during the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament.

“How do we go to elections when the GPA has 27 articles that have not been implemented in letter and spirit and there are areas that we need to work on as the three political parties to achieve free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe?”

Khumalo said lack of political will by Zanu PF to create an environment conducive to free and fair elections was apparent during the official opening of Parliament when President Robert Mugabe preached a message of “No to violence” while his supporters beat up those perceived to be political opponents outside.

“No arrests have been made to date and yet the perpetrators are there for the whole world to see. There is also Chipangano which is going to flea markets and taxi ranks demanding money, but we do not see any arrests. Why use violence? Convince me to support you, but do not beat me up,” she said.

While Khumalo was debating, Zanu PF lawmaker for Mbire, Paul Mazikana, interjected and said she was misquoting what the President said in his speech.

“The President was emphatic on the issue of ‘No to violence’ and Honourable Khumalo is putting in words that the President never said. She should withdraw all that she said,” Mazikana retorted.
But Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo ruled Mazikana out of order.

Veritas, an organisation that monitors Parliamentary issues in their Bill Watch publication this week said last year had been marked by talk of imminent elections, although conditions for credible, free and fair elections had not been achieved.

“The national healing initiative has not produced tangible results and the constitution-making process is way behind schedule. Legal reforms to promote freedom of assembly and freedom of speech have not been brought to Parliament,” Veritas said in a statement.