HARARE – Signatories to the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (Nera) have planned a series of demonstrations to force President Robert Mugabe to implement electoral reforms before the much-anticipated 2018 elections.
Over 10 opposition political parties joined Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC to craft and sign up to the Nera in the call for a truly credible election as a precondition for the return to legitimacy, which the parties agreed must become an issue of national priority.
Nera has written a petition to government threatening to hold a series of demonstrations if the government fails to address their electoral reform demands.
“We pray that the above-mentioned demands be met in the shortest time so that we rescued Zimbabwe out of political and legitimacy crisis that we find ourselves in,” the petition said.
“Failure to realise will leave the young people of Zimbabwe with no other option than to take it upon themselves to rescue this country from the political, economic legitimacy crisis by any means possible.
“It is our thinking and aspiration that fair and free elections in Zimbabwe will result in the dismantling of the dictatorship of Zanu PF.”
Nera called upon the government to urgently call an all electoral stakeholders meeting.
“We demand that the secretariat of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission be run by competent and non-partisan individuals,” the petition reads.
The Nera youths savaged Zec chairperson Rita Makarau for working for two conflicting organisations, the Judicial Services Commission and Zec.
“Note the conflict of interest created by having the Judicial Services Commission secretary doubling as Zec chairperson.
“Call for … Makarau to choose one role she can handle and not having her doubling up as Zec chairperson and JSC secretary.”
The youths also said that Parliament should play its role of supervising Zec and ensure that the electoral body operates as an independent entity as prescribed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Nera prescribes that the electoral body introduce the biometric vote and also wants the next 2018 poll to be internationally run and supervised by the United Nations.
Besides biometric voter register, Nera also calls for the complete and total independence of Zec, the abandonment of the use of voter registration slips in polling, the use of postal voting strictly in accordance with the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, dubbed the Grand Baie Protocol, and clear definition of voter education that recognises the Bill of Rights.
Nera also calls for an accurate and up to date electronic voters roll to be made available to all interested political players in a searchable and analysable format, and that traditional leaders should be apolitical.
It also calls for the harmonisation of all laws with the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, particularly laws such as Public Order and Security Act (Posa), Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act in particular Section and 121 of this Act, and the Broadcasting Services Act, among a raft of legislation.
Nera also envisages that members of the security services — the real power behind President Robert Mugabe’s throne — should not participate in any political activities and that the Diaspora vote should be immediately adopted and implemented and that those in prisons and other places of incarceration should be allowed to vote in accordance with the ruling of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other regional jurisprudence.