Minimum conditions for Elections: Chitungwiza Residents Air their Views….

Politicians in Zimbabwe seem adamant on holding elections this year and this is causing unnecessary political tension especially in rural areas. Cases of political violence have been on the increase as a result. Informed by this, Heal Zimbabwe continue to hold public consultative meetings with residents and villagers on their expectations of what should be done before any call for elections in the country. On 5 April, 2012, residents of St Mary’s Chitungwiza gathered at Huruyadzo Hall and

The outcomes of the public meetings from all provinces will be combined together and used to lobby the Government to make necessary reforms before any elections are held. It is Heal Zimbabwe’s contention that people should not be forced into elections before necessary reforms are done as this leads to loss of innocent lives through political violence as evidenced by the 2008 political violence which led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, thousands injured and displaced. These atrocities should be avoided by all means possible hence the need for reforms before any call for elections.

Below are some of the views brought out during the meeting:

• The police should be impartial in conducting their duties and should investigate to arrest rather than the other way round as this has led to the persecution of many political activists in the hands of the police.

• People from all political parties should come together in fighting political violence. They must put their political differences aside and let the spirit of “Ubuntu” take precedence.

• All perpetrators of political violence should be arrested including political leaders dating back to as early as 1980 and there should be no selective application of the law.

• The international community should send out peace keeping forces to ensure elections are peaceful and also oversee a smooth transfer of power to the winner after the elections.

• Everyone should be given an opportunity to check his/her name in the voters roll and new voters should be given amble time to register before the election date.

• The JOMIC and Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration should play their part of ensuring there is peace and political tolerance in the country rather than moving around in big expensive cars doing absolutely nothing on the ground.

• Every political party should be allowed to campaign freely without any restrictions and should be given enough access to the media rather than the current monopoly by one political party.

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