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Refuse poll stampede


President Robert Mugabe last week told his Zanu PF party’s politburo and central committee that elections will be held without fail before the end of March 2013 to end the “dysfunctional” inclusive government incepted in February 2009.

While Zimbabweans are generally not opposed to the elections, they are more concerned that Mugabe intends to stampede them into polls where their security is not guaranteed and their votes not secure.

Since 1980, the electorate has been subjected to political violence at the hands of Zanu PF thugs, war veterans and State security agents intent on securing political papacy for Mugabe. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands displaced and injured since 1980, with the worst political violence taking place in June 2008 after Mugabe for the first time after Independence was outpolled by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential election.

It is against this backcloth that the people of Zimbabwe should demand minimum reforms if we are to go for elections next year. We need to guarantee the people’s vote and make sure that the outcome of the polls would not be contested. We don’t need a second government of national unity.

We agree with the MDC-T’s position that we need conditions for sustainable elections in the country. Sustainable elections create a “stable and sustainable” developmental country that “would be able to attend to the core demands of its people on a platform of social justice and social delivery”.

Our political leaders should immediately embark on minimum reforms if we are to have credible elections. They should, as a matter of urgency, implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and all other agreed positions, including implementation of regional and international standards on democratic elections.

The leadership should also put in place measures to guarantee the security and integrity of the vote; the security of the person; and the people’s will. We also need to immediately implement the agreed roadmap to elections which is anchored on the conclusion of the
constitution-making process and referendum. We have to accelerate the preparation of a new voters’ roll, and implement key media and legislative reforms.

The MDC-T is dead right that there is also need to attend to reforms pertaining to freedom of association and freedom of assembly; fresh delimitation of constituencies to eliminate gerrymandering; and defining measures and procedures to do with the actual election, for instance obliging the President and the Prime Minister to agree on the date of the election.

The electorate should demand that these minimum requirements be put in place before we go for the watershed elections. The people of Zimbabwe should not agree to an election whose outcome can be manipulated and contrived. We don’t want to slide back to the dark days of June 2008.

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