MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe has said Zimbabwe should learn best practices on holding free and fair elections from Madagascar where voter registration is done on a door-to-door basis.
BY SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Contributing to debate in Parliament on the Madagascar elections last Thursday, Khupe, who together with Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu PF) formed part of a Sadc Parliamentary Forum delegation that observed Madagascar elections in December last year , said Zimbabwe still had a lot to learn to avoid holding sham polls.
“There were live debates on television and all candidates were given equal time on air to sell their manifestos so that people were able to vote without fear or favour,” said Khupe. “Every candidate had an opportunity to talk about their manifesto and even when it came to rallies, every political party held their rallies at any time.
“There was no issue of you going to the police and asking for permission and so forth and so on. They were just holding their rallies and road shows at any time and they tolerated each other. These are some of the best practices that we are talking about,” Khupe said.
Madagascar’s former Finance minister Hery Rajaonarimampianina won the December presidential election — the first to be held in that country since a 2009 coup.
Khupe said there was a door-to-door voter registration process and every registered voter was allowed to freely cast their ballot.
“All political parties are fully involved in the counting process and they are not just spectators. Their members are allowed to watch and witness the counting process. I hope and trust that as Zimbabwe, we will learn from these best practices, especially when it comes to voter registration and the door-to-door registration that I mentioned,” Khupe said.
“The issuance of voting cards, I think, that is one of the things. We do not want the use of voting slips, Madam Speaker. As you know, in Zimbabwe, more than a million people voted using voting slips and some of them were not even on the voters’ roll.
They were not appearing on the voters’ roll, but they voted and some of them were even under-age. That should not be allowed to happen,” Khupe added. But her presentation was continuously interrupted by Zanu PF MPs who apparently felt offended by her proposals that Zimbabwe should adopt the same electoral system.
First to shoot her down was Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona, who barred her from discussing Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections saying the issue had been dealt with by the courts. But Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF) later said there was nothing to learn from the Madagascar elections as the country had a history of coups de tat and violence.