MDC approaches Sadc over ‘illegal’ poll

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HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has formally written to regional bloc Southern African Development Community (Sadc) for recourse saying the July 31 poll was “illegal” as it was foisted on Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe in utter disregard of the rule of law and international sense.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told a news conference yesterday that Mugabe’s unilateral declaration that general elections would be held on July 31 ignored the role of the legislature which was supposed to pass Electoral Act amendments.

Parliament stood dissolved on June 29.

Mugabe used his presidential powers to pass the amendments to the Electoral Act even without the consent of Cabinet.

Biti, a lawyer by profession, said they had highlighted to the regional bloc that several pieces of legislation such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) had to be aligned to conform to the new Constitution before the holding of crunch elections.

“The holding of elections in light of the fact that resolutions made in Maputo were not fulfilled renders the polls meaningless,” Biti told reporters at the MDC HQ Harvest House.

“Sadc should know that we could have realigned the laws, we have written to them to review this situation.

“The Electoral Amendment was passed without going to Parliament and the outcome is, we are going to have an illegal election. The law could have been passed but a rogue State has ignored the rules of international law and Sadc. Sadc should meet and determine whether we can have a legal election.”

On June 15 in Maputo, Mozambique, Sadc heads of State passed resolutions compelling Mugabe to among other things publicly call service chiefs, who have in the past made threats to subvert popular will, to order, respect the rule of law and also effect media and security sector reforms before elections.

The 15-member bloc also tasked Zimbabwe coalition leaders to approach the courts and seek an extension of the July 31 poll deadline.

Biti said Mugabe’s application to the court, as directed by Sadc, was weak and designed to lose and railroad the country into an election without the prerequisite reforms as demanded by the other half of the coalition. 

Biti indicated that his MDC and the other MDC formation led by Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube, is still in touch with South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team that includes Lindiwe Zulu who the 89-year-old strongman last week labelled “an idiotic, stupid, street woman.”

The MDC, which has also written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) seeking an extension of the voter registration process to July 19, says the Registrar General’s office has also disenfranchised 300 000 voters in Harare alone.

The MDC secretary general said Youth Assembly deputy president Costa Machinaguta was shot at in a drive-by in the high density suburb of Budiriro on Wednesday.

“Violations and violence is on the increase. The chaos faction in Zanu PF is trying to reignite and remobilise the arsenal of violence…we can see a deliberate attempt to decimate our leadership,” said Biti.

Biti also raised concern with the 120 000 people from the ministry of Foreign Affairs who have applied for postal voting saying government does not employ such a staggering figure in foreign missions.

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