Electoral reforms are a key component of free and elections

The MDC would like to express its deep satisfaction with the progress that eighteen (18) political parties under the national electoral reform agenda (NERA), have so far made in jointly pushing for the adoption of electoral reforms.

Indeed, without the adoption of electoral reforms as more fully disclosed in the NERA trajectory, it will not be possible for Zimbabwe to hold free and fair elections in 2018. As President Morgan Tsvangirai has lucidly pointed out to the media, it would be utter and complete folly for the MDC to blindly go into an election without reforms. We have learnt the bitter lesson that the Zanu PF regime will always rig any election that is conducted without electoral reforms. Once beaten, twice shy.

As 2018 fast approaches, it is critical for the Parliament of Zimbabwe to play a leading role in setting out a well –defined and precise roadmap to the next election. Zimbabwe cannot afford the luxury of holding another contested election in 2018.The national economy continues to contract and collapse into a huge mess of a rag tag informal economy that can neither create meaningful jobs nor sustain essential government expenditure. This is the time for all concerned stakeholders to put their heads together and fight for the creation of an environment that is conducive to the holding of elections that will easily pass the test of legitimacy.

We call upon the Zanu PF regime to appreciate that Zimbabwe is for all of us; regardless of race, colour or creed. As such, the deterioration and virtual collapse of the formal national economy adversely affects all the people of Zimbabwe, across the political divide. Now is the time for all of us to draw a line in the sand and declare that never again should Zimbabwe hold elections that are marred by violence, intimidation and all the other forms of vote rigging that have become the hallmark of our political and electoral environment.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be adequately capacitated by way of both financial and material resources; way before the holding of the next general elections. In the same breath, the Zanu PF regime should immediately desist from improperly interfering with the operations of ZEC. ZEC, as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, should be completely independent and should not bow down to the whims and fantasies of any politician, be it from the ruling party or from the opposition.

The MDC, together with all the other political parties under the NERA platform, calls upon the ZEC secretariat to be totally dismantled to allow for the creation of a professional and non-partisan administration. All CIO operatives and other State agents who presently constitute the greater component of the ZEC secretariat should be immediately removed. Election 2018 should be an opportunity for Zimbabwe to open a new and fresh chapter of holding free and fair elections. With the necessary goodwill and support from all stakeholders, this can be done.

MDC: EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

OBERT CHAURURA GUTU

MDC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON

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