MDC-T breakaway faction leader, Thokozani Khupe, has challenged government to fund the training and deployment of polling agents for all political parties to ensure equal representation at all polling stations.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
“We have never had as many as 11 000 polling stations and as a party we do not have the capacity of deploying 22 000 polling agents required under these circumstances because their deployment requires around US$1 million,” Khupe told journalists in Bulawayo on Saturday.
“As MDC-T we are, therefore, calling upon the government to see to it that it covers the cost of both the training and deployment of polling agents because as political parties we cannot be seen soliciting for money from donors to foot that bill on behalf of the government.”
Khupe said her party would today petition the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to accede to opposition demands for reforms and compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act.
“As a party, we have a number of issues with Zec and we will on Monday write to them raising these issues. It should be noted that our issues are not in any way connected to any legal reforms because as it stands, the law states in Section 157 Subsection 5 that you cannot change anything at this stage when we are almost on the 30th July.
“We are simply asking Zec to implement Section 239 of the Constitution and its regulations,” Khupe said.
On Friday, Zec commissioner Qhubani Moyo denied charges the electoral management body was not following the Constitution in the running of elections.
“We are following the law to the letter and in so doing we know there are some stakeholders who seem not happy about the way we are following the law and we are saying, unfortunately, we cannot deviate from what is provided in the law.
“There are certain things that some people should have done in Parliament to change the legislation so that the Electoral Act reflects what they desire,” Moyo said during a dialogue organised by Zimbabwe National Editors Forum with civic society activists in Bulawayo on Friday.
The MDC Alliance has also been calling for electoral reforms ahead of the July 30 elections.
Khupe said her party will also approach the Human Rights Commission and the National Healing and Reconciliation Commission concerning political violence, which she said was being perpetrated against members of her party.
“We are concerned that the code of conduct has been violated so many times, yet the police do not act over it despite their commitment to do so. For example, our candidate in Epworth was physically abused and Miriam Mashayamombe in Kuwadzana was equally abused, yet the police have not acted.
“Concerning these abuses, we will lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and the National Healing and Reconciliation Commission to act upon it,” said Khupe.