Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) yesterday challenged the ruling Zanu PF party to stop dangling government-sourced food aid at its campaign rallies as a vote-buying gimmick ahead of next year’s general elections.
BY VENERANDA LANGA/OBEY MANAYITI
In a statement, CiZC spokesperson Thabani Mpofu described partisan distribution of government-sourced food aid as undemocratic and unconstitutional.
“Partisan distribution of food aid must be stopped as it is undemocratic and unconstitutional and public figures must stop distributing inputs, tractors, rice, maize and clothing secured by government on behalf of the people on party lines,” Mpofu said.
CiZC also demanded the demilitarisation of the election process and removal of security personnel from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s secretariat.
“Steps must be taken to ensure that the new voters’ roll produced after the biometric voter registration process is accessible to stakeholders and the voting public can check whether or not they are registered.”
The civil society organisation implored the State media to grant equal access to all political parties, as stipulated in section 155 of the Constitution, which speaks on free access to the media.
CiZC also said traditional leaders should not be used to campaign for Zanu PF as this would be a clear violation of section 281 of the Constitution and the Traditional Leaders Act.
“Civil society organisations and ordinary citizens continue to be denied space to exercise freedom of assembly and association. Organisations are forced to notify the police about all meetings and those without memoranda of understanding are subjected to persecution,” CiZC said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) also demanded a clear election roadmap and operationalisation of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
For long, Zimbabwe’s elections have been marred by allegations of rigging, bias and politically-motivated violence targeting members of the opposition.
“Design and implement a roadmap to democratic, free and fair elections in 2018, which includes the diaspora vote, an independent and professional Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and ensure the political neutrality of the security forces,” HRW director for Southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga said.
“Provide for the timely and sufficient deployment of domestic and Sadc-led international election observers to Zimbabwe to promote credible, free and fair elections and to deter violence and intimidation.”
HRW said for economic recovery and investor confidence, the government needs to guarantee the respect of rule of law and all human and property rights.
The organisation also said there is need to repeal legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.