Parties unite for reforms before polls
By Tichaona Sibanda
HARARE – Five political parties in Zimbabwe have decided to come together on a common platform, to ensure political and electoral reforms are implemented before the next harmonized elections.
This united pact is seen by analysts as the first step towards a ‘grand coalition’ that may be formed to fight Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party in elections that the Constitutional Court ruled should be held before July 31st this year.
Leaders of the MDC-T, MDC-N, Mavambo Kusile Dawn, ZAPU and ZANU Ndonga came up with what they called their ‘commitment and readiness to participate in a credible free and fair election’ only after the necessary reforms.
An analyst pointed out that this pre-election agreement, if it translates into an electoral grand coalition, would see the two MDC parties and its affiliate partners provide a formidable challenge to ZANU PF ‘s 33 years in power.
The deal will also see Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube speak with one voice in Maputo on Sunday, during the SADC summit on Zimbabwe.
The ‘agreement,’ reached after more than five hours of talks at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Harare cast doubt on the practicalities of holding elections at the end of next month.
It was also agreed during the meeting that the real issue is not so much the date of the election but rather the conditions under which the elections will be held.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Tsvangirai said they resolved to communicate their position on elections to the SADC meeting this weekend.
He said key reforms that have a bearing on the freeness and fairness of elections have to be implemented first, before the actual elections, so as to avoid another disputed poll in the country.
The Premier said in keeping with the new constitution there has to be a mandatory 30 day voter registration exercise, that is now set to spill into July because of its late start.
‘Prior to elections, amendments must be effected to laws that have a bearing on elections, laws such as POSA and AIPPA. There should be reforms to the state media to allow a divergent of views from other political parties.
‘Members of the security forces should not be office bearers of any political party and there should be a code of conduct for all armed forces on how they behave before, during and after elections,’ Tsvangirai said. SW Radio Africa