Zimbabwe: ED Insincere About Polls, Chamisa Tells SADC

MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa, left and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, right.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government has been insincere in its commitment to holding a free, fair and credible elections, MDC-T president Nelson Chamisa, told Sadc envoys Tuesday.

The seven-member Sadc Electoral Advisory Council, chaired by Advocate Leshele Thoahlane, is currently on a week-long fact finding mission in Zimbabwe which is preparing for crucial polls between July and August this year.

Chamisa headed a mine member delegation that included secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, vice president Elias Mudzuri and youth assembly leader Happymore Chidziva among others.

"President Chamisa told the delegation, led by Advocate Leshele Thoahlane, that the Zimbabwe government has not been sincere on its commitment to a free, fair and credible plebiscite as it had not yet made public in substantive terms the roadmap to the next election.

"He bemoaned the fact that the recommendations made by Sadc in the 2013 election in terms of the implementation of key reforms had not yet been done, among them media reforms that would ensure equal coverage of all contesting parties," a statement from the party said Tuesday.

The MDC leader, the statement said, raised issues to do with violence, the abuse of traditional leaders, the opaqueness around the printing and auditing of ballots as well as the auditing of the voters roll.

"With a few months to go before the next election, there was neither agreement nor clarity on these key electoral matters.

"President Chamisa implored the Sadc observer team to ensure that Zimbabwe complies with the Sadc guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections, adding that only a credible plebiscite would ensure a return of confidence and legitimacy in the country," the statement issued by MDC-T communications director, Luke Tamborinyoka, said.

The party told Thoahlane and his team that the Zanu PF government has refused to implement key issues "that would have assured stakeholders, among them issues to do with the auditing of the voters roll as well as the printing and auditing of the ballot papers, including the identity of the company that would print the ballots."

The MDC-T added that government has also denied against the dictates of the Constitution to grant Zimbabweans in the diaspora their right to vote.

Chamisa's team also demanded that the military retract statements made that indicate it will not accept an electoral outcome that does not favour Zanu PF.

"The party also told the Sadc observer team that Zimbabweans wanted the army to undo their previous statements that they would not salute a President who did not participate in the liberation struggle by making a clear and unequivocal statement that they will this time respect the sovereign will of the people," Tamborinyoka said.

The MDC-T also raised issues around manipulation of electoral boundaries and partisan distribution of social services to poor Zimbabweans that the party claimed might work in Mnangagwa's favour.

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