MDC not boycotting 2005 election


Vincent Kahiya

THE Movement for Democratic Change has said it will not boycott next year’s parliamentary election as has been reported recently.



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The party’s secretary for policy and research Trudy Stevenson in a statement on Wednesday said her party was preparing for the poll.


“I have heard so many people ask, why are you boycotting the election?” said Stevenson.


“I believe clarification is necessary. The MDC is not boycotting the 2005 election, or any other election.


“We resolved as a party to prepare thoroughly to participate in the election. However, we insist that the election must be free and fair this time, and we will not allow (Registrar-General Tobaiwa) Mudede and Zanu PF to steal the election,” she said.


There has been debate among senior members of the party on whether it should participate in the general election next year under the current legal framework. In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the leadership wanted the issue to be debated at all levels in the party.


He however said there should be amendments to the electoral laws to level the playing field. The party’s secretary for legal affairs David Coltart has said the MDC should boycott the poll if minimal conditions were not met.


Stevenson yesterday said her party was insisting that government even the playing field before the poll. She said the country’s electoral laws should conform to Sadc norms and standards for elections.


The government this week announced it was amending the electoral laws, but the amendments fall well short of the expectations of the MDC and civil society.


The MDC wants to see the establishment of an independent electoral commission that would be responsible for running the entire electoral process. The MDC is also demanding the exclusion of “partisan officials” such as the current registrar-general Mudede and members of the military from being involved in the running of the elections.


It is also demanding a completely fresh voter registration exercise done by an independent electoral commission with the assistance of the United Nations. The party wants an electronic copy of the voters’ roll supplied to all political parties and interested persons.


The MDC is also demanding the repeal of sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) that curtail media freedoms and the repeal of provisions in the Public Order and Security Act that curtail the freedom of political parties to campaign.


It also wants the reversal of administrative decisions that have resulted in the closure of the Daily News and the removal of all obstacles preventing the Daily News and other newspapers from operating freely.


Still on the media, the party wants the liberalisation of the broadcasting media and the opening up of state media to carry equal amounts of coverage of all parties’ electoralmessages pro rata the percentage of votes they secured in the last general election.


The MDC is demanding the complete disbanding of the youth militia. It wants use of translucent plastic ballot boxes of secure, single-piece construction to be used in the poll.


It also wants all voting done and completed in one day. To ensure this sufficient numbers of polling stations should be established, it says.


The party also wants unhindered access to the entire electoral process by international, regional and domestic election observer missions. It is demanding that all counting of ballots should take place at polling stations in the mandatory presence of polling agents and observers.

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