BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) yesterday said it was now a lot wiser as an opposition and was busy plugging loopholes for possible vote rigging going into the 2023 elections.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said they would not continue “whining” over electoral malpractices by authorities, but had “sharpened strategies” to outsmart any attempts at rigging the polls.
Mahere also said they had changed tack on engaging African and other international bodies so as to ensure there was long-term monitoring of the whole electoral process leading to the polling day.
“We want to assure the citizens that we have lobbied, (that) we continue to lobby both the Southern African Development Community and the African Union on these issues,” she said.
“There is need for long-term monitoring of the election playing field. There is no point in coming before election day to try and assist with the voting environment when during the period preceding the elections, our members were being incarcerated, shot, abducted and persecuted.”
Currently, CCC members such as MPs Job Sikhala (Zengeza West) and Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North) are languishing in remand prison facing various charges.
Sikhala and Sithole face charges of incitement to violence in relation to the skirmishes that broke out at the funeral of murdered party activist Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime two months ago.
“We have sharpened our approach significantly since the 2018 elections. We took very important lessons, and even in these March by-elections, this has informed our engagement with the international community, particularly regional bodies around the electoral processes that are going to take place in Zimbabwe,” Mahere said.
“We ensured that we have a dossier of information that we gave them so that they know what is taking place. You are aware that there has been a shift in approach by the regional bodies on how they manage elections. We saw what Sadc did in Zambia and Malawi and what it continues to do in other countries.”
Mahere said they also wanted to guard against electoral theft, especially in the rural areas by engaging in an awareness drive on electoral processes.
“Our polling agents are ready to identify traditional leaders who would be intimidating citizens. We are not sitting back and complaining, feeling sorry for ourselves. We do have strategies in place, but that does not take away the constitutional obligation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to monitor these events to ensure that all parties comply with the code of conduct,” she said.
CCC secretary for elections Ian Makone called on Zec to conduct another voter registration blitz to ensure that more eligible voters participate in next year’s elections.
“We are saying to Zec, and I hope we all collectively make that same point, we require them to institute a further voter registration blitz,” Makone said.
“We want to go to the extent whereby there is a commitment of when that blitz is going to be, a commitment over the voter education because if we don’t, I worry that this generation, which is your generation, will not be part of the decision-making that takes place next year.”
Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana requested questions in writing, but had not yet responded by the time of going to print.
CCC has raised various complaints against Zec for failing to put in place measures that promote a level political playing field for a credible election in 2023.
Some of the complaints against Zec surround the voters roll, but the elections management body on Wednesday said the country had a perfect document.