Wednesday, 4 May 2016

FLIP FLOP TSVANGIRAI : WE ARE NOW BOYCOTTING ELECTIONS

Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will continue boycotting all elections until sticking points have been resolved and far-reaching electoral reforms enacted.


This comes as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is finalising preparations for the by-elections in Mazowe North, which has been vacant since the death of Edgar Chidavaenzi of Zanu PF.

The statutory instrument calling the by-election has not yet been gazetted, and the MDC has said it is boycotting that special vote as well.

This comes after the party also shunned the April 23 Guruve South by-election, won by Zanu PF candidate, Patrick Dutiro, who beat the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)’s Simbarashe Mutsvene.

The Guruve South seat fell vacant after the Zanu PF representative Criswell Mutematsaka lost the seat in terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution when he was expelled from the governing party.

An MDC official told the Daily News yesterday the party would continue to disengage from all polls until electoral reforms outlined in the national electoral reform agenda (Nera) document have been enacted, adding the MDC remains opposed to participation in mere rituals disguised as elections.

Over 10 opposition political parties joined the MDC to craft and sign up to the Nera in the call for a truly credible election as a precondition for the return to legitimacy, which the parties agreed must become an issue of national priority.

Nera prescribes that the electoral body introduce the biometric vote and also wants the next 2018 poll to be internationally run and supervised by the United Nations.
“The official position of the party is that we shall not participate in any elections without electoral reforms having been carried out,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News yesterday.

“The reforms that we are demanding have been succinctly captured in the Nera document. Only the National Council of the party, being the highest decision-making body of the party in between congresses, has got the mandate and power to alter, amend and or abandon this position.”

Besides a biometric voter register, Nera also calls for the complete and total independence of Zec, the abandonment of the use of voter registration slips in polling, the use of postal voting strictly in accordance with the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, dubbed the Grand Baie Protocol, and clear definition of voter education that recognises the Bill of Rights.

Nera also calls for an accurate and up-to-date electronic voters’ roll to be made available to all interested political players in a searchable and analysable format, and that traditional leaders should be apolitical.

It also calls for the harmonisation of all laws with the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, particularly laws such as Public Order and Security Act, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act in particular Section and 121 of this Act, and the Broadcasting Services Act, among a raft of legislation.

Nera also envisages that members of the security services — the real power behind President Robert Mugabe’s throne — should not participate in any political activities and that the Diaspora vote should be immediately adopted and implemented and that those in prisons and other places of incarceration should be allowed to vote in accordance with the ruling of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other regional jurisprudence.

Tsvangirai, 64, has led the MDC since it was formed in 1999 to challenge Mugabe — the sole ruler since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980 — and his Zanu PF party.

But the ex-labour union leader has failed to dislodge the 92-year-old Mugabe in three elections, although none of them was free or fair, according to the MDC and Western observers.

Mugabe denies MDC allegations that his Zanu PF has cheated the MDC of victory in four major elections since 2000.

Tsvangirai was urged not to contest in the 2013 elections because many of the electoral reforms he had asked for had not been implemented, but he went on to participate and controversially lost to Mugabe.

The MDC has said it will not repeat that mistake. Tsvangirai’s party remains the biggest challenge to Mugabe’s continued hold on power. Tsvangirai is still seen as a popular hero and a focus for the MDC’s rallying cry of chinja or change. daily news

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