The biggest march was in Bulawayo where hundreds marched from Lobengula Kraal popularly known as Lunar Park in Masotsha Avenue via Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo street to the Bulawayo City Hall.
At Bulawayo City Hall, the opposition handed over a petition listing demands for electoral reforms to legislators to take to parliament.
Addressing the supporters, MDC-T vice president, Thokozani Khupe called for ZEC’s dismissal because it had failed to act professional and neutrally. She said opposition parties should unite forces and declare they must not participate in elections without reforms.
“It is time for us to draw a line in the sand and say never again will we allow an election without reforms. We are not going back to 2013,” she said.
Khupe said the country was ruled by an illegitimate government that had rigged the 2013 elections.
“We are now a basket case because of the political crisis, we have an illegitimate government and because of that we are in an economic crisis. More than 85 percent of Zimbabweans are living in poverty and destitution, living under a $1 a day. $15 billion was stolen because we agreed to go to elections without a voters’ roll in 2013. Zanu PF, you can rig an election, but you can’t rig the economy” she said.
Khupe argued the ZEC administration be disbanded and give way to an independent body that would be non-partisan.
“Police, army and the CIO should also play their part in a non-political and non-partisan manner. Their role is to promote peace and order, not to beat people up. Their role is to make sure people vote freely and fairly,’ she said.
The MDC-T vice noted that the voters’ roll must be given to all contesting political parties for validation.
“Everyone should be registered and then allowed to inspect the voters’ roll. After inspecting it, the voters’ roll must be given to all contesting in elections who will then validate it. After we are satisfied and say it is correct it should be signed and given to all political parties,” Khupe said.
Director of Strategy in the Professor Welshman Ncube led MDC, Ellen Shiriyedenga, told supporters a free and fair election was important to return the country to legitimacy.
Shiriyedenga urged people to register in order to vote.
“We can only win an election through the ballot,” she said. “But if that ballot is not secure, then we have a problem. We have an election in less than two years’ time, that is 20 months from now but there is no voters’ roll.”
ZAPU Secretary General, Dr Strike Mnkandla, said the electoral reforms should also touch on the laws that seem remote but have implications on the electoral process.
“We are concerned about the Public Order and Security Act (POSA),” he said. “We don’t want a law that allows the police to tell us what to do and when to do it. We need the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). We also want devolution of power to be fully implemented.”
ZimPF’s Bulawayo provincial mobilising secretary, Nkosilathi Hove, said the parties wanted the government of Zimbabwe to guarantee voting rights to its citizens in foreign lands.
“As opposition parties, we have to come together and work with each other. We have to solve the crisis prevailing in the country,” he declared. 263chat