The Herald (Harare)

13 October 2012

Zimbabwe: 'Polls - No One Forced to Contest'

Photo: IRIN
President Robert Mugabe

ELECTIONS will go ahead next year and parties that do not want to contest will not be forced, President Mugabe has said.

Addressing the 90th Ordinary Session of the Zanu-PF Central Committee in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe said the prevailing political environment was conducive for the holding of free and fair elections.

He said this was contrary to assertions by MDC formations that the playing field was not even.

"The MDC-T is saying let us level the ground.

"I do not know kuti kunodiwa matractors here to level the ground? You cannot get it better than this. If there is a fight in one place or the other, that does not mar the general peace.

"What is important is that people must be able to vote without pressure. On our side we will ensure that there is no pressure exerted on the people."

Added the President: "Asingade kuenda kuma elections, we do not force

anybody. Some people think that they are important. That is nonsense.

"We will proceed. We are sailing on the road to elections in March. Vasingade, we do not force."

The President said the country could not continue in a political arrangement in which some people were not voted, but appointed into office.

"We have cheated on democracy. Democracy does not go that way," he said.

He said the Global Political Agreement, which gave birth to the inclusive Government, was created to prepare the country for the holding of free and fair elections.

The elections were supposed to have been held 18 months after the formation of the inclusive Government.

President Mugabe said some people no longer wanted to go for elections because they were enjoying luxuries that come with being in Government.

He urged Zanu-PF to gear up for the polls by working with the people and attending to their grievances.

The President said MDC-T was exposed and in disarray, giving Zanu-PF an opportune time to win the elections resoundingly.

He said "God was giving Zanu-PF an election victory on a silver platter" and challenged the party to make full use of the "blatantly God-given victory".

"They (MDC formations) have been exposed from top to bottom," President Mugabe said.

He singled out corruption in MDC-T led councils and failure to provide basic services as clear signs that the people voted the wrong party into office in the 2008 elections.

President Mugabe rallied his party to take advantage of such gross shortcomings by the MDC formations, saying if his rivals were voted into office again, "ah, ndingati takaora. Rotten people".

He called for unity in Zanu-PF ahead of elections to avoid a repeat of what transpired during the 2008 harmonised polls.

"Let us now look forward in unity and have discipline of a level much higher than 2008."

The sins of 2008, President Mugabe said, landed the country in the mess of the inclusive Government.

"Be united. Be focused. Be selfless and the party as a whole is what we are working for even if you stand as an individual in your constituency.

"A winning party needs discipline, needs order, focus and direction. Factions never build a strong party.

"Factions arise from selfishness and egotism that has no room in a party which is a people's party. Let us move as one solid body and that way we will win as one. We won Chimurenga because we were united."

MDC-T is against the holding of elections in March.

The party told President Jacob Zuma's facilitation team on Thursday that conditions in the country were not conducive for free and fair elections.

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai argued that there was need for reforms, mainly in the electronic media he accused of being biased towards Zanu-PF.

Zanu-PF dismissed the allegations.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said those in the Diaspora would not vote at the constitutional referendum and the harmonised elections.

The commission said the country did not have the resources and a law that would allow Zimbabweans out of the country to vote.

ZEC chief elections officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi said at a consultative workshop with representatives of political parties in Harare yesterday, that they could not manage logistics for the diaspora vote.

"The logistics involved in capturing the diaspora vote is very significant because we have Zimbabweans in South Africa, Zambia, UK, the USA and other countries . . . the question is how do we capture them?" he said.

"The thing is, if they have to vote, then we will have to airlift teams to those countries to conduct the electoral process. The economics involved are quite heavy."

ZEC acting chairperson Mrs Joyce Kazembe said her commission was impartial in executing its mandate.

"I am sorry about the misgivings or myths that have been said about the commission," she said.

"I am very arrogant about people's views about the commission or individuals in it. I will stand by my statement that this is a professional organisation.

"I will put my head on the block to say the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission ranks among one of the best in conducting electoral processes, not only in the Sadc region but Africa and elsewhere."

Dr Petty Makoni, another ZEC commissioner, said the registrar general's office would remain in charge of the voters roll as provided for in the law.

In their submissions, political parties said there was a need for the commission to implement some of the amendments to the Electoral Act.

Parties represented at the meeting were Zanu-PF, MDC-T, MDC, Zimbabwe Development Party, Mavambo Kusile Dawn, Zapu and Mthwakazi Revolutionary Front.

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