22 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Friday, 22 February 2013, Issue 521

Tensions are mounting in Zimbabwe ahead of a referendum on the new constitution. Opposition leaders have accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of ... ( Resource: Zimbabwe Tense Ahead of Constitution Poll

press release

The MDC totally condemns the current crackdown on pro-democracy institutions by the State security forces.

The partisan and unprofessional conduct being displayed by the police and army is totally unacceptable. We note with displeasure the incessant attacks on nongovernmental organisations and other voices of dissent.

The confiscation of radios, continued police raids and arrests of pro-democracy activists at: Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) and of late at the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) points to a serious indictment of a free democratic environment which we envisage as we approach the election period this year.

The MDC's position is that the resurgence and obvious perpetuation of a culture of impunity that has permeated the Zimbabwe body politic lately, is totally unacceptable and should be stopped forthwith if this nation is to move forward.

It is even more ridiculous that such unpleasant developments are happening at the backdrop of Zanu PF leader; Robert Mugabe's repeated calls for peace and the need for violence free elections.

As much as Mugabe has been declaring such good intentions, the behaviour of State institutions and some of his party stalwarts points towards some very disturbing irony.

The clear selective application of the law and continued raids by the Zimbabwe Republic Police is ridiculous and puts paid to our call for serious reforms of institutions, including the security sector realignment before holding of the next elections.

It is in light of such unacceptable developments that the MDC reiterates its call for a realignment of all institutions of the State which have a direct bearing on the holding of free, fair and peaceful elections.

Our benchmarks in Conditions for a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe (COSEZ) remain as follows;

1. The adoption and implementation of an agreed new Constitution for Zimbabwe.

2. Reform of legislative requirements for the elections:

a) Adoption of a new Electoral Act which incorporates, regional and international standards governing the conduct of elections.

b) Media reforms that include the issuing of community radio licenses to impartial and non partisan organisations.

c) Repeal of all legislation that restricts the freedom of movement and association in Zimbabwe including POSA, AIPPA, the Broadcasting Services Act and the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.

d) No member of the uniformed forces and intelligence service should participate in any way in electioneering on behalf of any political party, individuals or any other organisation.

3. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be in charge of all electoral processes including:

a) The Appointment of non partisan and impartial staff to manage the affairs of the commission.

b) Preparing of a new voter's roll.

c) Provide voter's education on a national basis.

4. Official election observers and monitors to be in place 6 months before and 6 months after the election to:

a) Ensure the eradication of state sponsored violence and intimidation.

b) Guarantee the secrecy, security and integrity of the vote and the voter.

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