21 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Political Parties Ready

POLITICAL parties are ready for the harmonised elections and await President Mugabe's  announcement of poll dates, their spokespersons have said.

The parties were also unanimous that the elections should be held under a new constitution.

However, those smelling defeat have started demanding certain conditions to be put in place before they enter the race. Reports say although some of these parties have not been showing interest publicly in participating in the elections scheduled for this year, they were mobilising their supporters for the polls.

Speaking to The Herald recently, Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo, said Zanu-PF had always been ready for the elections.

"We are ready to go for the elections as soon as the constitution-making process is over after going for the referendum," said Cde Gumbo.

"As for Zanu-PF, all systems are in place and once all these processes are over, victory is certain."

There have, however, been some accusations by other parties that have been insinuating that political violence would erupt once the parties start campaigning. Responding to this, Cde Gumbo said: "These people are day dreaming. The President (Mugabe) has always been saying no to political violence. His lieutenants, we have been preaching the same message of non political violence. All the people who are anticipating violence will be ashamed with the outcome."

Zanu-PF has made it clear that it will hold primary elections in February under strict rules to enable it to come up with candidates of repute to represent it in the harmonised elections.

MDC deputy spokesperson Mr Kurauone Chihwayi, said his party was on the ground strengthening its structures ahead of the elections.

"We are ready for the elections and right now we are already in the trenches. This week our secretary general (Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga) will be writing to the provinces inviting them to send names of people who want to represent the party in national elections.

"In cases where more than one candidate emerges wishing to represent the party, we will conduct primary elections," he said. Mr Chihwayi said the indications were that the party was going to conduct primaries in all constituencies nationwide, adding no one was going to be spared from the popularity test.

"The only person who is not going to be contested is the president (Professor Welshman Ncube). We have opened the floodgates for CVs and soon they will be coming through.

"We are not going to stop campaigning until the day of voting. Those guided by our 2008 performance when we did not have a leader must prepare themselves for a rude awakening," he said. He concurred with Cde Gumbo that the MDC wanted the elections to be conducted under a new constitution.

Mavambo Kusile Dawn national secretary for communications Mr Silver Bhebhe said the party would participate in the elections if the inclusive Government fulfilled certain conditions.

"Mavambo Kusile Dawn will participate in the elections as long as the inclusive Government ensures an environment that guarantees a free and fair outcome," he said.

The MDC-T has also upped its poll preparations and has since announced that it will hold primary elections this month under a controversial system that will spare sitting legislators from competition.

The party also wants the polls held under the new constitution and has already endorsed the draft constitution.

Mr Bhebhe blamed the inclusive Government for not doing much since 2009 when it was created.

"They have failed to put in place some electoral reforms, a genuine national healing and reconciliation programme is not yet in place . . . some rural areas are still no go areas for the opposition, while access to the public media is still limited," he said.

The country will hold elections this year without fail and principals have given the committee charged with ironing out the outstanding issues stalling the finalisation of the constitution making process to submit their report.

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