OPPOSITION party leaders yesterday endorsed the decision to disengage the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and pursue other routes to force electoral reforms ahead of next year’s crucial elections.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The parties were fighting a collective war against Zec and the government’s decision to renege on the previous agreement concerning the electoral roadmap.
Almost 20 political leaders attended the crisis meeting, among them MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai, Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, PDP leader Tendai Biti, RDZ leader Elton Mangoma, Zimbabwe People First caretaker leader Didymus Mutasa and Marceline Chikasha (ADP).
However, Joice Mujuru, who leads National People’s Party (NPP), was conspicuous by her absence amid reports that she was contemplating going it alone.
In an interview, National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) official and MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora described the meeting as “fruitful”.
He said the leaders agreed to pursue the political, legal and diplomatic route to compel Zec into implementing the reforms.
“The political parties agreed to work together on the fundamental issues surrounding electoral reforms and they formally accept the disengagement with Zec announced to us,” Mwonzora said in reference to last week’s engagement meeting that failed to materialise after Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau stormed out of the meeting.
“They were of the feeling that Zec has dismally failed. They agreed that Zec had failed the test of impartiality and independence required of an electoral management body and that it must be disbanded.”
Mwonzora added: “We will be writing formally to all the responsible authorities about the political and technical unacceptability of Zec as an electoral management body. Further, we are going to escalate and intensify our fight for meaningful electoral reforms.”
He said they would find a way to deal with obstacles to free and fair elections.
Commenting on the United Nations’ decision to endorse government’s take-over of the procurement of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits, Mwonzora said there was a misreading of the issue, as they had never disputed State funding.
He said their issue was on procurement and they would never accept a situation where government would procure the BVR kits.
“The UN said there is nothing wrong with the government funding the procurement of the kits. Funding of the kits by the government has never been an issue, but the issue is with government procuring. They can give the UN the money to procure because it is wrong for the government to procure. The UN didn’t say anything objectionable,” Mwonzora said, adding they would continue ratcheting up pressure on Zec.
He said next week, they would conduct their rally at Africa Unity Square as Nera to call for the reforms.
Mwonzora said the political party leaders would continue to meet to map the way forward collectively.