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Go hang, govt tells Chamisa

Local News
Kindness Paradza

INFORMATION deputy minister Kindness Paradza says government will not succumb to Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s demands for electoral reforms.

“If Chamisa wants electoral reforms, he has to work through Parliament. If the [Electoral Amendment] Bill goes to Parliament, it will go for public scrutiny through public hearings where, if he wants to make any submissions, he can do so through his Members of Parliament and supporters,” Paradza told NewsDay yesterday.

“That is democracy in our view. But it does not have to be a demand because we do not succumb to demands. We are the ruling party and have been in power for 42 years and we do not succumb to demands from the opposition.”

Paradza was responding to Chamisa’s Twitter post that a 2023 pre-election pact is the only way to go for the country to avoid a disputed poll outcome.

Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the disputed 2018 elections, said various stakeholders should be consulted on the pre-election pact.

“There are no genuine reforms in the Zanu PF government proposed electoral reforms by the Cabinet. A pre-election pact on reforms by all parties, civil society and stakeholders is key. Any unilateral political decision will produce a disputed and discredited national leadership,” he tweeted.

Government last month announced that Cabinet had approved the principles of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2022.

Electoral stakeholders, including the opposition, however, said they were not consulted on the draft of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2022.

The Bill is silent on demands by the opposition and other independent election watchdogs.

In September, Chamisa launched the CCC’s pre-election pact on electoral reforms blueprint.

During the launch, Chamisa said Zimbabwe had over the years experienced a series of elections that failed credibility and integrity tests.

Yesterday, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the electoral reform agenda remained CCC’s priority.

“The CCC is currently seized with ensuring that any amendments to the Electoral Act are the product of wide consultation with all stakeholders, including civic society, citizens and political parties. The citizens have unequivocally placed their faith in the CCC,” Mahere said.

“Against all odds, we have demonstrated that we are a competent, credible alternative to Zanu PF. Even the Afrobarometer report states that if an election were called today, CCC would win. Zanu PF can never win a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. That is sealed and settled. This is why they are panicking and resorting to violence. We want elections, not war.”

Zimbabwe Electoral Comission (Zec) chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana demanded questions in writing when asked what progress had been made in addressing CCC concerns over electoral malpractices.

“These are mere allegations which we do not know their basis. Send us questions in writing so that we respond,” Silaigwana said.

He had not responded to the questions by the time of going to print.

Some of the alleged electoral malpractices cited by CCC include violence against its members, Zec’s failure to release a credible voters roll, vote-buying and lack of access to the State media, among others.

Political analysts say this pointed to another disputed poll.

The analysts yesterday said odds were against the opposition as the country marches towards the 2023 elections.

Analyst Rashweat Mukundu said: “The CCC is walking a tightrope between a call for its supporters to come out in numbers to vote, while at the same time contending with the violence and the uneven political environment, hence the shift to extremes in messaging on political mobilisation strategies.”

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said. “The last round of the Afrobarometer showed Chamisa leading his opponent President Mnangagwa. But the opposition should be cautioned against overconfidence. A lot has happened since those survey results came out.”

CCC has ruled out boycotting the elections despite failure by government to implement electoral reforms.

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