DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER 1 July 2017
HARARE – The MDC has said it is engaging the African Union (AU) and Sadc
to ensure that next year’s elections are free and fair.
This comes as several concerns have been raised over the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (Zec)’s capacity to conduct a free and fair poll,
outside the influence of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party – Zanu PF.
“The MDC is always engaging all stakeholders, including regional…bodies
such as Sadc and the AU.
“We can assure Zimbabweans that we have got our eyes firmly on the ball
and we are monitoring each and every move that is being made by Zec,” MDC
spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News this week.
“The people of Zimbabwe are demanding and in fact, they do deserve a free
and fair election to be held next year.
“There is broad national consensus around the need to ensure that the 2018
elections are credible and free from contestation,” he added, without
giving further details on the engagements.
Several opposition parties have raised the red flag, claiming Zec is
compromised and cannot conduct a proper election process that is free and
The major concern has been the presence of military personnel in the
electoral body’s secretariat.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC – the biggest opposition political party in
Zimbabwe – has accused Zanu PF of influencing Zec ahead of the 2018 polls.
“We are acutely aware of the fact that the Zanu PF regime is already
sensing a crushing and humiliating defeat in next year’s elections and as
such, they are trying to influence Zec to make it extremely difficult for
most people to register to vote.
“It is trite that dictatorships thrive on voter apathy as well as on voter
demotivation and intimidation.
“The MDC will not allow Zec to unconstitutionally usurp the right of all
eligible Zimbabweans to register as voters,” it said recently.
Gutu, however, without disclosing the strategies that they are using to
ensure that there will be a free and fair election, said the move to
achieve the goal is work in progress.
“Some of the things that we are doing are of a very strategic nature and
as such, we can’t disclose everything… in the public domain. Sometimes,
quiet diplomacy is more effective than megaphone diplomacy,” he said.
MDC’s concerns come on the back of legal experts saying the mooted
electronic voter register under the biometric voter registration (BVR)
system is illegal.