11 January 2008

Zimbabwe: MDC Lines Up 300 Rallies

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC will this weekend embark on a number of rallies dubbed the New Zimbabwe Campaign in a bid to force government to introduce a new constitution and guarantee free and fair harmonised elections this year.

Nelson Chamisa, the party's spokesperson, said the MDC had lined up 300 rallies in the rural areas this month to press, among other things, for the implementation of "agreements" signed between the MDC and Zanu PF at the Sadc-mediated talks.

Chamisa said the MDC would push for the reconstitution of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to undertake a transparent and all-inclusive voter registration and delimitation exercise.

He said the MDC also wants a new constitution before the elections and that the date of the polls be moved to June from March to allow for the implementation of comprehensive reforms.

Chamisa said the MDC would push for international observation and monitoring of the elections at least three months before the polls, plus equal access to the media. This would push the election to May at the earliest.

The party would also demand that all Zimbabweans in the diaspora should vote.

"In the event that a new, credible voters roll cannot be put in place ahead of the poll, the MDC wants every eligible Zimbabwean to be allowed to cast their vote upon producing their national identity card as happened in the 1980 elections," Chamisa said.

He said the MDC is demanding free and fair elections that represent the legitimate will of the people of Zimbabwe on who should govern them. "Another contested electoral outcome is not acceptable for the country and the rallies are the national expression for the people's demand for a free and fair poll," he said.

Chamisa said the campaign entails the people's demand for a united front of political parties, civic groups, churches, students and workers to coalesce into a formidable movement to be midwives to a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.

"The party is working hard to achieve the unity of all democratic forces in 2008," he said. "At the national council meeting of December 16 2007, the party resolved to put the people's aspirations ahead of any artificial cleavages that may derail the democratic train."

The campaign will also take an international dimension, where every Zimbabwean based outside the country was expected to take part in the demand for free and fair polls.

"In this campaign, the party appeals to every Zimbabwean, wherever they are in the Diaspora, in whatever they do, to find their own little way of contributing to the sculpturing of a new Zimbabwe by

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