ssed three public meetings in the second capital of Zimbabwe over two days. Very successful meetings were held in Pumula/Luveve and Lobengula/ Magwegwe constituencies. Constitutional Amendment Bill No 18 and voter registration and education for the March 2008’s harmonized elections dominated the discussions at all the meetings.
On the issue of Constitutional Amendment 18, the Party Secretary General, Professor Welshman Ncube explained to members that they had reached consensus on Amendment 18 to go through Parliament as the first step towards resolving the national crisis in the country. The Secretary-General said by agreeing to Amendment 18, the opposition had paved the way for the likelihood of a new constitution.
The Official Leader of the Opposition and MDC Deputy President Gibson Sibanda explained that the opposition had concurred with Amendment 18 because ZANU PF had agreed to take out sections that the MDC was opposed to. He noted that the approved Amendment 18 did not have provisions that would make it easy for ZANU PF to rig the polls. He highlighted the fact that there will not be any appointments to the House of Assembly as all members will now be directly elected. The Presidential appointees have been a thorn in the flesh as it gave the incumbent President a head start of 30 unelected MPs before the elections have even begun. These have now been whittled down to 5 only in the Senate. More importantly, the management of elections will now be conducted by ZEC from start to finish dealing a heavy blow to Zanu PF’s rigging mechanism which relied heavily on Mudede. The Deputy President went on to explain that it was not a new phenomenon that a President is elected by Parliament to complete the tenure of an elected one in the event of a resignation or for some other reason. The British and the American have such similar provision with the South Africans even electing their President in Parliament. He cited the recent changes in leadership in Britain . He urged people to study the Amendment and make informed debate before rushing to make commentaries that the Opposition has sold out!
President Mutambara said there should not be any confusion over the week’s events in Parliament. He urged supporters to brace for a tough election campaign to remove Robert Mugabe and the ZANU PF led government from power in the March 2008’s harmonized elections. “We are on a war for democracy. Don’t be confused about what happened in Parliament. It’s a process to ensure there are free and fair elections to fight it out and defeat Mugabe. Don’t get any illusions. It is not the time for celebrations; it’s time to fight the democratic war in Zimbabwe .” The MDC President warned supporters against relying on the coalition to deliver democracy. “Don’t count on coalitions. We are alone in this fight. We must strengthen our party structures. We must have our own candidates countrywide. Let’s not depend on others. We must depend on ourselves.” The President urged supporters to go and register in their large numbers for the March polls saying that it was the only viable option available to start resolving the country’s economic and political crisis. He urged members to educate friends and relatives on how voting would be conducted to reduce spoilt ballot papers.
During question and answer sessions, supporters wanted to know what the party was doing to ensure that people would not be harassed and tortured by the notorious ZANU PF youth militia. Others wanted the voting conditions of the visually impaired to be reviewed so that blind and illiterate voters are assisted by people of their own choice and not police officers. The Leadership responded by saying that all these concerns shall be addressed in discussions around the electoral laws.
MDC Information and Publicity Department