SMALLER opposition political parties in Zimbabwe have joined the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in threats to boycott next year’s general election unless government ov
erhauls the electoral framework. The parties this week said they would not legitimise the 2005 poll by participating.
The Zanu PF government has already tabled in parliament two bills which it claims will complement each other in fulfilling the requirements of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) guidelines on the conduct of elections. Opposition parties have dismissed the reforms as mere window-dressing.
Government this week gazetted the Electoral Bill, which it said would complement the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill already before parliament.
The Democratic Party (DP) this week issued a statement addressed to the citizens of Zimbabwe calling for a boycott of next year’s election. “Boycott all bogus elections held under the expired colonial Lancaster House constitution. Your boycott is your democratic voice. Don’t be cheated. Don’t commit suicide. Keep out of bogus elections held under a one-party dictatorship,” the statement said.
DP president Wurayayi Zembe said they had joined the MDC and civil society in denouncing Zanu PF’s cosmetic electoral reforms.
Zapu leader Paul Siwela said although his party had launched campaigns for next year’s election, it would only participate if the electoral framework was reformed to comply with the Sadc guidelines.
“All political parties should reject attempts by Zanu PF to rig another election,” Siwela said. “We will not participate unless the electoral laws are acceptable and in sync with the Sadc protocol.
Zanu leader Wilson Kumbula said his party would only confirm its participation after reviewing the political situation and establishing if there was free environment for elections.
“There is continuous violence perpetrated by Zanu PF and the ruling party doesn’t seem to be committed to creating a democratic framework,” Kumbula said.
“Participation under these conditions would be a mere endorsement of the rigging process.”
The political parties committee under the National Constitutional Assembly also said in a statement that all its constituent opposition parties would boycott next year’s general election unless Zanu PF implements genuine reforms. “The opposition parties agreed they would not legitimise a rigging process. It was agreed that participation would only be on the basis of genuine reforms,” said Zembe, who is the chairman of the committee.