Tendai Kamhungira 11 July 2017
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said yesterday it was not
worried about opposition plans for a peaceful protest today to press for
MDC youths will gather in central Harare today for the latest protest to
demand political change and wider electoral reforms.
Zec chairperson Rita Makarau told journalists during an update on how far
it has gone in preparation of the 2018 elections that the electoral body
felt serene about calls for protests.
“We will not stand in the way of their demonstrations, it’s their
democratic right to demonstrate . . . and . . . we have reached out to
them. We had a meeting with political parties late last week where we gave
them this (election preparation) information.
“During that meeting, we made it quite clear to them that we were open
to receive their representations on how we can improve on the
distribution plan that we came up with,” Makarau said, adding that they
will keep engaging with all political parties ahead of the 2018 elections
Makarau reiterated last week’s statement that they will not be setting
polling stations outside Zimbabwe, calling upon those in the Diaspora to
come and register to vote back home if they were willing to participate in
next year’s elections.
She also said that they have already paid 50 percent of the total amount
required by Laxton Group which won the tender to provide biometric voter
registration (BVR) kits.
A conglomeration of opposition parties, including the MDC, want the next
vote in 2018 to be supervised by international observers, including the
United Nations and seek changes in election laws they say hinder a free
and fair vote.
MDC youth assembly leader Happymore Chidziva told the Daily News last week
they will not fold their hands while Zec remains reluctant to implement
The opposition has long alleged that Zec remains biased in favour of
President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF and is run by the party’s
functionaries, charges the national elections’ management body denies.