Thursday, 18 August 2016


Opposition parties want to meet President Robert Mugabe and State security chiefs over the deteriorating economic situation in the country, which was now causing social unrest, and to push for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 polls.

The parties, under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), resolved to seek audience with Mugabe demanding that his administration reforms the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) before 2018.

Nera currently comprises of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Freedom Front led by Cosmas Mponda, Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), Transform Zimbabwe, Zanu Ndonga, Zunde, ZimFirst and FreeZim Congress, among others.

ZimPF founder and current Nera chairperson Didymus Mutasa told NewsDay at his Chishawasha home on Tuesday that they had initiated the process to meet Mugabe to bring to his attention the poor state of the economy and the need for electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections.

“We want to tell him that the people of Zimbabwe want this and that. They want free and fair elections. He has no option, but to meet us. He will have to because our concerns are legitimate,” Mutasa said, while flanked by Mponda.

The former Presidential Affairs minister said Nera leaders were also pushing to meet State security chiefs, who were critical in the administration of polls as they normally campaign for Zanu PF.
“We want them to know that politics is not for them, but us civilian people. We are saying they should stay in barracks and protect us from external forces, not telling us who should be the next leader,” Mutasa said.

“I am saying this from experience. I know how the military and CIO [Central Intelligence Organisation] are used to campaign for Zanu PF. We are saying that should end. People should not be afraid of the CIO and say they are partisan, but people must work with them in safeguarding our internal security.”

He added: “Today, the CIO is the most feared institution because of the way it operates and we are saying that should end. The CIO should be a secret service, but when you see people campaigning for a particular party, it ceases to be a secret service.”

Mutasa said Mugabe should feel free to meet his political opponents as this was the best way he could redeem his “tattered” legacy which had been marred by allegations of vote rigging and abuse of State machinery to retain power.

“If you look at all the States in the Sadc region, they have changed their leaders several times since gaining independence. Their democracy has improved tremendously. That is what we also want. We should have a new President also, but that has to be done in a democratic way. That is why we are saying he should meet us and we usher in a new playing field for a democratic Zimbabwe,” Mutasa said.

“We also want the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be reformed. We want (Zec chairperson) Justice Rita Makarau to go. She is not impartial in the discharge of her duties. We want the United Nations to help us run the elections so that we get a credible outcome.”
Mponda, who said Nera was pushing for a demonstration on August 26, said Zec must not run the 2018 elections.

“Not only do we want (Justice) Makarau to go, the staff too should go. Zec is full of CIOs who are working for Zanu PF,” Mponda said.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo said he was unaware of any move by Nera to meet Mugabe, while also defending Justice Makarau’s appointment as legal.


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