Magaisa: MDC-T forced into elections

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s political advisor Alex Magaisa says the MDC-T’s participation in next Wednesday’s crucial general elections was foisted on the party by its supporters against the leadership’s better judgment.

Paidamoyo Muzulu

Magaisa last week told a Sapes Trust public meeting discussing the possibility of Zimbabwe holding credible polls in the absence of critical reforms that the MDC-T is contesting with a heavy heart and reserves its right to seek redress from the courts if results are disputed.

“We listened to our supporters against our better judgment,” said Magaisa. “However, we reserve our right to petition the courts for redress if the poll is held in an irregular manner.”

The MDC-T has unsuccessfully petitioned the courts three times in the last month trying to force the postponement of elections citing allegations of voter registration irregularities and more recently the legitimacy of the 63 268 people comprising Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials, police officers, soldiers and prison wardens who were granted special voting privileges on July 14 and 15.

The July 31 elections would be the first polls under the new constitution gazetted on May 22 after four years of haggling by the coalition government partners.

The constitution introduces an enlarged parliament and also creates eight provincial councils and two metropolitan councils.

It states that some MPs should be elected through proportional representation but the process may be unfair, according to analysts, considering that there was no new constituency delimitation exercise.

Research Advocacy Unit (Rau) senior researcher Anthony Reeler said his organisation’s audit of the voters’ roll showed that there was a great need for a delimitation exercise in relation to the new uneven voter populations across the country.

“There are 41 constituencies that violate the constitutional provision on delimitation,” said Reeler.

“According to the constitution, a constituency should on average have 27 000 voters but accepts a 20% variation which means a constituency cannot have more than 33 000 voters and not less than 22 000,” Reeler said.

However, some constituencies, such as Mbare in Harare and Uzumba in Mashonaland East, now have more than 40 000 registered voters.

All political parties have scaled up their campaigns as they enter the home- stretch with Zanu PF and MDC-T scheduled to hold their final rallies in Harare on Sunday and Monday respectively.

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