ZANU PF and the two MDC parties yesterday clashed over the composition of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s secretariat which the latter insist was “partisan”, pushing for its replacement before the harmonised elections later this year.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA
This came at a time Zanu PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said that parties to the Global Political Agreement had frozen all electoral reforms until after the harmonised elections, which the MDC said was meant to cause voter apathy and instil fear among the electorate.
The MDC-T and MDC have accused Zec secretariat of partisanship, saying it was full of Zanu PF card-carrying members and State security officials.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said: “The Zec secretariat is an outstanding issue. The MDC wants free and fair elections under the new constitution, but these elections must be in accordance with the roadmap and this roadmap has key conditions, among them the Zec (reconstitution) issue.
“Zec officials must be people chosen by the independent commission itself. This secretariat was appointed by Zanu PF and some of them are card-carrying members of Zanu PF and members of the security services. It comprises again some men and women who took six weeks to announce the (2008) election results, so we demand that they be removed.”
Mwonzora said that MDC-T would ensure that all conditions favourable to a free and fair election were met before committing itself to the polls.
But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed the MDC’s demands as “nonsensical”, adding they were calculated to delay the elections.
Gumbo said the demands by the MDC-T were coming “a bit too late” and Zanu PF had no time to look backwards.
“It’s too late to talk about those things because now we are talking of a referendum and elections. Maybe, if they are talking of after elections, but certainly not now.”
Mwonzora, however, said his party would take up the issue with guarantors of the Global Political Agreement, Sadc facilitator South African President Jacob Zuma, if Zanu PF refused to implement the MDC-T party’s demands.
“Further, we want the government to facilitate fair voter registration as right now known MDC supporters who wish to register are being turned away while Zanu PF activists and soldiers are being registered freely,” Mwonzora said.
The latest development comes hardly 48 hours after MPs from the three main parties unanimously endorsed the draft constitution, paving the way for the referendum and general elections later this year.
MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga recently said: “An array of reforms will be made. Zanu PF wants to give an impression that there are many hurdles so as to instil fear in the electorate that will result in voter apathy, yet in actual fact, there is no contestation around.
We have finished the constitution-making process and there will be a lot of work to try to reform some sections in line with the draft constitution.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Parliament would then be tasked to complete all the necessary reforms before the expiry of its term on June 29.