Opposition weighs election options

Source: Opposition weighs election options – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      20 June 2018

HARARE – Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and other principals in the MDC
Alliance have not ruled out boycotting next month’s crucial national
elections but for now, they will continue dialogue with the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (Zec) over their demands for reforms.

This is despite Zec slamming the door firmly shut on the opposition by
declaring that nothing short of an earthquake would stop the impending
watershed polls whether their demands had been met or not.

Yesterday Chamisa’s new spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda, said the youthful
presidential candidate was still consulting – but was firm on the
Alliance’s demands for conditions which make July 30 elections free and

“The president is meeting with different people and will take action from
their views. He is not taking action at the moment.

“The president has made it very clear that nothing short of a free and
fair election will be accepted by the people and Zec must act in
accordance with the law,” Sibanda told the Daily News.

He warned that if Zec fails to take heed of their demands they will appeal
to the people to intervene.

“They will peacefully decide on what to do on whether to continue another
five years with the current government or not,” he said.

MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said they were not taking away the
option of boycotting the elections but would give dialogue a chance.

“We are in the process of engaging Zec and we are meeting Zec next week
after which we will make our decision. We will obviously cross the bridge
when we get there, but we will continue to engage with Zec,” Mwonzora

On Monday, in statements which were viewed as closing the door on the
opposition and its demands for a raft of electoral reforms, Zec
chairperson Priscillah Chigumba told journalists that nothing will now
stand in the way of conducting elections.

“Whether the candidates scrutinise the voters’ roll, whether they see any
anomalies in it, whatever the anomalies are, whatever legal recourse they
have will not stop an election. I want that to be very clear, nothing
stops the election.

“Let me put the law into perspective, first thing to take note is once the
president has proclaimed the election date, there is nothing short of an
earthquake that can stop the election,” Chigumba said.

With Zimbabwe fast approaching the July 30 elections, Zec has come under
the spotlight, mainly from the opposition, who claim that the national
elections management body needs to be reformed ahead of the crucial polls.

On June 5, thousands of opposition supporters – mainly drawn from the MDC
Alliance – marched in Harare to press for a raft of reforms which include
the change of personnel at Zec and transparency in the printing and
distribution of ballot papers.

According to the law, changes at Zec can only be made possible by
Parliament through either amendments or an overhaul of current statutes
governing its operations – meaning that both the ruling Zanu PF and the
MDC may have missed that chance during the life of the current Parliament.

Next month’s elections have generated such interest among both ordinary
Zimbabweans and ambitious politicians alike, that a staggering 22
opposition leaders are set to contest President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the
presidential plebiscite.

This year’s record 23 presidential candidates  include MDC Alliance leader
Nelson Chamisa and former vice president Joice Mujuru.

The polls themselves will be the first in the past two decades not to
feature former Zanu PF strongman Robert Mugabe and the late opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai – who lost his valiant battle against cancer of
the colon in February this year.

Mugabe resigned from office late last year a few hours after Parliament
had initiated proceedings to impeach him – when he had refused to leave
office during eight tense days that began with the military intervening in
the governance of the country.