MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa has written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, registering his displeasure at the slow pace at which electoral reforms are being implemented, a few months before the crucial harmonised elections.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Since the 2013 elections, the party has been calling for the implementation of electoral reforms that can usher in credible, free and fair elections.
At one point the party adopted a no reforms, no election resolution that resulted in the MDC-T boycotting by-elections claiming the environment was no even.
NewsDay has it on good authority that as elections drew closer, Chamisa last week wrote to Mnangagwa, seeking to have the outstanding reforms implemented.
Chamisa confirmed in an interview that indeed he reached out to Mnangagwa on the reforms and other electoral related matters.
“Yes, I wrote him a letter that these issues, ballot printing and the audit of the voters’ roll, are critical issues for a free and fair election,” he said.
“These issues must be resolved. This is the fundamental and core to a free and fair election apart from issues of intimidation in rural areas and others.
“We gave them reforms that we felt must be implemented. These issues must be solved before campaigning period. I wrote the letter last week.”
Early this year, Mnangagwa visited the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai at his Highlands home, where issues of electoral reforms were also discussed.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba later revealed his boss asked Tsvangirai to submit a document detailing the nature of their desired reforms so that they could be acted upon.
Human Rights Watch Southern Africa director, Dewa Mavhinga yesterday said pressure should be mounted to force the government to implement the reforms.
“Without sustained pressure, the government will not voluntarily design and implement a roadmap to democratic, free and fair elections,” he said.
“Opposition groups and concerned citizens should gather hard evidence about the existence of an uneven electoral field and detail all barriers to credible polls together with the necessary reforms and present that information to Sadc, African Union, the United Nations and others with clear demands that elections can only take place after reforms have been undertaken to the satisfaction of independent observers.
“It is not possible for a grossly uneven electoral field to provide for Zimbabweans to freely express their will as to who should govern them hence the absolute need for electoral reforms.”
Another analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said the position articulated by local electoral pressure groups must be taken seriously and opposition parties can take the reforms to the Constitutional Court.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) boss (Priscilla Chigumba) has already said reforms are done at Parliament level. So just consolidating all reforms as articulated by Zesn and ERC (electoral watchdogs), opposition can approach the Constitutional Court. The most important reform is Zec independence,” Ngwenya said.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said: “If the current government is serious about legitimate and credible elections it must enact them otherwise the results would be contested and this slows down development and normalcy.”