Get organised, educate voters

Political parties should start organising their structures and expand their support base in preparation for the next elections, according to Zapu President, Dumiso Dabengwa.


Instead of trying to work out what went wrong at the recent polls, parties should focus their energy on the 2018 elections.

“Lessons learnt from the past election suggest that political parties should educate their supporters on the importance of voting,” Dabengwa told The Zimbabwean in a telephone interview.

Most political parties left voter education to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which did not have adequate staff for the exercise.

To help minimise irregularities at the polls, Dabengwa said political parties should educate their members on the role of election agents and other allied activities. Parties were advised to encourage their members to register early as voters, ‘since delayed registration cost them crucial votes’.

Dabengwa expressed disappointment at what he described as late participation of observers in the electoral process.

NGOs and other observer groups were called on to help level the political playing field by training their members for election duties and deploying them well ahead of the polls.

“The issue of observers should be taken seriously since manipulation of voting took place before the actual casting of the ballot,” said Dabengwa.

He advised political parties to declare themselves ready for elections after conducting voter education, training election agents and making sure people are registered to vote.

MDC-T said although there were noticeable shortcomings in the performance of party election agents, there was not much they could do to avoid rigging.

“The truth of the matter is that the election was stolen well before voting day. There was not much polling agents could have done to foil the electoral fraud,” said MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora.

The MDC-T has conducted its post-election retreat where a post-mortem of the polls was carried out and the way forward was discussed.

Analysts urged ‘losing’ political parties to identify where they went wrong and start correcting the mistakes ahead of 2018 elections.

Post published in: News

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