MDC Alliance leadership meets EU Observers
MDC-T President and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Adv. Nelson Chamisa, Alliance partners and senior leaders of the party today met the eight-member European Union Electoral Preparatory Team at the party headquarters at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in Harare.
The EU team wanted to appreciate the MDC Alliance’s position around the conditions in the country ahead of the watershed elections due in the country in a few months time.
Adv. Chamisa said the MDC-T and the MDC Alliance had prepared comprehensive list of demands that would ensure a free, fair and credible election in Zimbabwe. He said the demands were enshrined in the MDC Alliance’s Plan and Environment and Credible Election (PEACE) that will be launched in Harare today.
He said he had also written to President Mnangagwa and was willing to engage him on the issues but on an equal footing since Mr. Mnangagwa was also a candidate.
The people’s President raised the issue of the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, against the disturbing background of the curious and unexplained resignation of both the chairperson and the chief elections officer of the electoral management body.
He said it was a serious and vicious assault on the integrity and autonomy of ZEC that the electoral management body’s new chairperson had undertaken a trip to Russia with a politburo member of Zanu PF and advisor to one of the candidates in the forthcoming election.
The Alliance leadership outlined the 10 demands in the MDC Alliance’s PEACE in Zimbabwe document, which he said the Alliance wanted responded to ahead of the next election.
The issues include but are not limited to the role of the military in Zimbabwe’s elections, the independence of ZEC, 40 percent of whose secretariat are either serving or retired members of the military, impartiality and free and equal coverage of all contesting parties by the public broadcaster, legislative reforms covering the Electoral Act, the Public Order and Security Act as well as the Access to Information and Privacy Act, which he said proscribed fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly. He also spoke about the need for all contesting parties to audit the voters roll and the need to stem violence and intimidation so that the sovereign expression of the people is not curtailed.
President Chamisa added that the firm printing the ballot paper needs to be agreed to by all contesting parties as well the auditing of the quality of that paper. He said the issues of the voters roll and the ballot paper were deal breakers, emphasizing that there will not be an election in the absence of an agreement on those important matters.
The party’s leadership restated that the government had already rejected some of the key demands that relate to the printing of the ballot, the audit of the voters roll, adding that there was need for regional, AU and broader international pressure in that regard.
The leadership said there was need to ensure that Zimbabwe’s election complies with regional, continental international instruments including the AU and the SADC guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections as well s international best practice.
The leadership said more than four million Zimbabweans would be disenfranchised if the government continued to disallow the Diaspora vote on the basis of logistical challenges, despite the fact that every Zimbabwean has the right to vote under the new Constitution of the country.
President Chamisa was accompanied into the meeting by MDC Alliance principals or their representatives, senior members of the MDC-T.
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications