Rights groups shoot down calls for poll freeze 

Source: Rights groups shoot down calls for poll freeze – NewsDay Zimbabwe


RIGHTS groups have dismissed the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T call for postponement of the 2023 elections, describing the proposal as illegal and a gross violation of citizens’ rights.

On Sunday, MDC-T national chairperson Morgen Komichi told NewsDay that the opposition party believed that dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the way to go, adding that holding elections without reforms was a waste of time.

Currently, the MDC-T is engaged in meetings to deliberate on Mnangagwa’s response to their plea to engage in dialogue.

But rights groups said citizens had a right to choose their leaders within a stipulated timeframe.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said the MDC-T could not push for postponement of elections as it was already in Parliament, but was failing to push for electoral law reforms.

“They have been in Parliament and yet they are not doing anything about electoral reforms. Why do they now want to disenfranchise voters? Komichi is not sincere about reforms as he has failed to raise the issue in Parliament,” Fuzwayo said.

“In 2023, we must vote for those whom we feel can go and represent us in Parliament and councils, and not for Komichi, whose party wants to continue in Parliament without the mandate of voters. The MDC-T, if sincere, must mobilise citizens to vote Zanu PF out and take over State power to reform the country.”

Human rights defender and political activist, Mthulisi Hanana said: “Stalling of elections is an MDC-T ploy to continue occupying the seats that they stole from the MDC Alliance. They know that with or without electoral reforms, they will not win any seats. In any case, if they are genuine, let them give up the seats that they got without electoral reforms.”

He said the MDC-T should also give the people alternatives of what would happen should elections be postponed.

Zapu secretary for mobilisation and organisation Derek Katsenga said: “What we know as Zimbabweans is that we are going to have general elections in 2023. Yes, we demand electoral reforms, but postponing elections without engaging voters is dangerous.”

Katsenga said if the MDC-T was not ready for elections, it did not mean that other opposition parties were not ready.

By-elections are still pending for around 40 parliamentary and more than 80 council seats. Since last year, Mwonzora’s party recalled more than 40 MPs aligned to the MDC Alliance, some of who have already been replaced by MDC-T members through proportional representation.