MDC demands reforms for free and fair elections

The MDC strongly condemns Zanu PF and Patrick Chinamasa’s forlorn and desperate attempts to stall the negotiations in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and adopting a roadmap to a free and elections.

Statements attributed to Chinamasa that Zanu PF had lost faith in the GPA negotiations are proof that Zanu PF is a bundle of nerves when it comes to holding free and fair elections next year. It is clear that Zanu PF in general and Chinamasa in particular are extremely frightened at the prospects of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. Given the fact that Chinamasa lost heavily in the 2008 parliamentary elections it is easy to see why he wants to avoid the trauma of losing elections.

Our clear position is that we will not compromise on our demands for the negotiations to yield a result that ensures a level playing field in the forth coming elections. This involves the resolution of all outstanding GPA issues, including the completion of the constitution making process, and the cleaning up of the voters’ roll.

Further all the three outstanding issues on the roadmap to free and fair elections. These are the crucial issue of the staffing of ZEC, the total eradication of all forms of date sponsored violence and security sector reform.

Currently the ZEC is staffed by State security agents, military officers and card carrying Zanu PF activists who were instrumental in rigging of the 2008 elections on Zanu PF and Mugabe's behalf. Clearly, without the total independence of the ZEC the nation can not expect free, fair and credible elections.

The MDC therefore demands that ZEC to cleanse itself of the Zanu PF mess and re-assert its credibility and perform its Constitutional functions in line with regionally and internationally accepted universal norms and standards for conducting free and fair elections.

The roadmap has specific timelines and benchmarks that have to be adhered to.

The MDC is concerned that little has been done in terms of media reforms in spite of the clear agreements on these. The issue of hate speech against the MDC in the public media has been intensified of late. At the same time nothing meaningful has been done to democratize and open up media space.

Zanu PF should therefore not be allowed to continue frustrating clear provisions of the GPA that is inclusive government must ensure a free, plural and diverse media in Zimbabwe.

On the issue of a polling station based voters’ roll, the MDC’s position is that it is not ideal when the issue of security sector realignment is not addressed. This is because polling station based voters roll make it possible for local communities to be targeted for reprisals after the election. To that end Parliament is dealing with the concerns raised by the people of Zimbabwe and the undesirability of certain clauses of the Electoral Ammendment Bill brought by Chinamasa.

The statements made by Chinamasa have a serious effect of delaying further the GPA negotiations and resolving outstanding issues on the roadmap to holding free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

Zanu PF is now showing its true colours. The sunset party – Zanu PF – is scared of elections. This anxiety is not difficult to see as most of the Zanu PF negotiators did not fair very well in the last elections in 2008, especially Patrick Chinamasa.

As a party, the MDC is ready for elections. However it insists on adequate mechanisms to ensure that these elections are free and fair.

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