17 April 2017

Zimbabwe: Govt Will Not Give in to Opposition Demands for Poll Reforms - Chombo

Photo: The Herald
Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo.

HOME Affairs minister, Ignatius Chombo says government will not give in to opposition demands for electoral reforms which he says are a western ploy to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.

Chombo, also Zanu PF secretary for administration, was speaking to journalists on the side-lines of last week's burial of Brigadier General James Murozvi at the national shrine in the capital.

Zimbabwe's opposition has upped its demands for the Zanu PF-led government to introduce electoral reforms in line with the country's constitution as the country gears for next year's harmonised elections.

They have made their demands under the banner of the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA). The parties argue that the current setup of electoral processes favoured President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

However, Chombo was adamant all this was a western strategy aimed at effecting regime change in the troubled Southern African country.

"All the reforms which they wanted which included human rights issues were covered when we adopted the new constitution and we cannot make changes each and every year," he said.

"We do not see the need to change anything because that is a closed chapter.

"What these parties must do is to go to the electorate and sell their manifestos and then let the people choose which party has the best programmes on the voting date and that is the change which Zimbabweans are yearning for."

NERA has, since September last year, been staging demonstrations in attempts to force elusive electoral reforms in the country.

Opposition parties want the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to come clean on how it intends to conduct next year's polls.

They also want their main opponents in Zanu PF to stop influencing the country's poll processes while hiding behind their government positions.

The opposition also wants opportunities equal to Zanu PF in terms of the coverage of their activities on public media.

But Chombo said all this was a western wish list foisted on the country's opposition.

"They only want to say our constitution is perfect if they win elections and we are not going to allow that to happen," he said.

"These opposition parties want to please their western masters who formed them and gave them instructions."

Chombo's comments follow similar remarks by Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo who said last year that Zanu PF will not "reform itself out of power".

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