By Fungi Kwaramba
Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, has challenged millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, particularly those in South Africa, to return home and register for the crucial 2018 national elections, to help safeguard the country’s future.
Addressing hundreds of Zimbabweans resident in the sprawling Johannesburg informal settlement of Dieploot last weekend, Mujuru also declared that the opposition had now “truly cornered” President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF, which meant that the will of the people would prevail in 2018 if citizens played their part by voting.
“Come back and let us fight for ourselves. Wherever you are as a builder do what you can. Please do your maximum. You must come home and register to vote.
“They (authorities) are not going to use the previous voters’ roll. We are registering anew. We have managed to bring Mugabe’s people to the negotiating table so that they listen to us and they have done that.
“We are trying hard to make sure that we level the electoral playing field and we have to start with his people at Zec (the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission). If you cannot vote then don’t ask me what happened later, but if we all vote we will make a difference,” Mujuru said.
“We are with you because I am asking myself why I left my parents at the age of 13, to try and liberate Zimbabwe … and why is it that crocodiles in the Limpopo River are now scared of Zimbabweans (illegally entering South Africa), yet we call ourselves a liberated nation. No!
“I am calling upon all Zimbabweans to use this Christmas holiday to return home and register to vote in large numbers, so that we can change our country for the better,” she added.
Mujuru’s call to Diasporans to come home and register, comes as Zec has announced that it will open the registration for the 2018 elections in the first quarter of next year.
The national elections management body has been under serious pressure from opposition parties coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), to take on board their concerns which include the management of a transparent voter registration exercise and the reconstitution of Zec’s secretariat among other demands.
The opposition also accuses Zec of having manipulated poll results in previous elections in aid of Mugabe and Zanu PF.
In 2008, authorities withheld the results of that year’s presidential election, in which Mugabe was beaten hands down by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, for an inexplicable six weeks.
Nera officials told the Daily News yesterday that Zec had this week given in to some of its demands, after it moved to set up multi-party committees to work at ensuring a modicum of transparency in the processes leading to the 2018 national polls.
Opposition parties met with Zec on Monday where they agreed to set up the nine sub-committees which will work on some of the contentious issues in the current electoral cycle, which include voter registration and the accreditation of monitors and observers.
“We agreed to constitute nine multi-party sub-committees to exercise oversight over the Zec sub-committees to ensure maximum transparency during voter registration, polling station mapping and accreditation, among other processes,” Nera legal secretary Douglas Mwonzora told the Daily News. Daily News