The main agenda of the meeting was to review the on–going biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise as well as to plan strategies of encouraging more and more eligible Zimbabweans to come out and register to vote. The meeting was chaired by Acting President Thokozani Khupe and it was also attended by Vice Presidents Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri amongst other top leaders of the party.
The national standing committee meeting was extremely successful in that it managed to galvanize and synergize the party’s top administrative organ in our relentless and spirited effort to bring sustainable democratic change to our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe. The meeting noted, inter alia, that whilst the BVR exercise is going on fairly well in all the constituencies in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has deployed blitz teams, there is an urgent need to excite the base and ensure that more eligible people go out to register.
Of particular concern to the meeting was the rather low numbers of people who have registered to vote in Harare and Bulawayo provinces. With immediate effect, the MDC, working together with other stakeholders, will put into place measures that will ensure that more people, especially the youth, turn out to register to vote.
The meeting also noted, with satisfaction, the fact that President Morgan Tsvangirai continues to recuperate very well and that he will soon be back in office on a full–time basis to lead the party machinery as we prepare for the watershed elections to be held in 2018.
The people of Zimbabwe have rightfully reposed their faith and trust in the MDC to deliver them from the house of Zanu PF created bondage into the land of milk and honey in a New Zimbabwe under the able and progressive leadership of President Morgan Tsvangirai.
As the leadership of the MDC, we also took this opportunity to reflect on the need for all of us to remain focused and united so that we do not disappoint the toiling masses of Zimbabwe who have placed so much faith in us as the government – in – waiting. In this regard, the party leadership has put in place mechanisms that will ensure that next year’s elections are not stolen.
We would also like to call upon ZEC to immediately take measures that will put to a stop the malpractices that we have so far observed in the BVR exercise. The issue of proof of residence continues to be a major hindrance to thousands of prospective voters who are finding it very difficult to obtain the necessary documentation for proof of residence, particularly in the rural areas. We thus call upon ZEC to immediately scrap the proof of residence requirement to enable more eligible people to easily register as voters.
It was also observed that so–called aliens are being turned away at all BVR centres. This has prompted the party to take legal action that will ensure that all eligible Zimbabweans are allowed to register as voters. The relevant court case will be heard in the courts of law within the next few days. The party leadership also noted, with grave concern, the illegal practice whereby Zanu PF officials are forcing people to surrender their voter registration slips and/or record the serial numbers of these slips. ZEC has been immediately engaged to ensure that this illegal practice is stopped forthwith.
All eligible voters should know that no one has the right to force them to surrender their voter registration slips or to record the serial numbers of these slips. At any rate, this is just a wicked and threatening ploy by Zanu PF officials to instil fear in the electorate. We urge all eligible voters to simply ignore and reject this illegal ploy because no one will be able to know who a voter votes for inside a polling booth in a free and fair election.
The national standing committee also noted the events in the ruling party in which one of the country’s Vice Presidents was recently booted out of office. This is a clear sign that the Zanu PF regime is collapsing and that the centre can no longer hold. It is also the MDC that possesses the necessary political gravitas and mass appeal to bring about a brand new progressive, democratic, accountable and transparent government in Zimbabwe. We shall remain solidly united under the able and visionary leadership of President Morgan Tsvangirai.
MDC: Equal Opportunities for All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson