Opposition parties push for reforms

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Rugare Gumbo

ZIMBABWE’S opposition parties are discussing ways to ensure electoral reforms are introduced and that there is an even playing field ahead of the 2018 general elections by which time they hope to have formed a grand coalition to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power, the Zimbabwe Independent has leant.

Wongai Zhangazha

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Several officials in opposition politics said there were also plans to rope in civil society in its efforts to push for electoral reforms. They will also support and help to organise protests and stay-aways.

The coalition talks come at time Mugabe is struggling to control internal fights in Zanu PF. Mugabe’s cash-strapped government is also struggling to pay civil servants while desperately trying to contain rising protests sparked by the deteriorating economic conditions.

Parties in the talks include MDC-T, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), Zapu and People Democratic Party (PDP).

Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa said the meetings were centred around ensuring that Zimbabwe has an environment conducive for holding free and fair elections.

He said coalition talks would be held at a later stage.

“What is important is to have a united front whose aim is to tackle a number of issues, for example electoral reforms. Tackling these issues needs the involvement of civil society and all stakeholders,” Dabengwa said.

“Once you do that you work together over a number of issues and at the end of the day you will be able to find each other. We are doing it to create a platform for free and fair elections. So you work towards those goals and when we draw towards the elections that is when we can discuss about a coalition. We have been meeting to discuss these issues and we have not yet reached a consensus but the meetings are ongoing.”

ZimPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the meetings were focused around ensuring that the next elections are held in a conducive environment.

“Discussions with other political parties are taking place in the interest of Zimbabwe. We don’t believe in working in isolation, we believe that as opposition parties we must get together one way or the other without interfering with each party’s ideology, objectives, structures and programmes. No, we don’t want things that are controversial where people end up fighting for leadership,” he said. “All we want now is for political parties and civil society movements to come together and form a minimum platform with benchmarks. Come together to form a united front, where we support each other for example in stay-aways and demonstrations, fighting for our rights as people of Zimbabwe.”

Last month ZimPF leader Joice Mujuru, MDC proportional representation MP for Matabeleland South Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe and the party’s secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora met in South Africa to explore the possibility of forming a coalition.

6 thoughts on “Opposition parties push for reforms”

  1. voter register says:

    Now you are talking. This is much better than endless squabbles.

  2. Rwendo says:

    Zanu PF’s rigging system has worked because it has adapted to circumstances and evolved with each of the last 3 elections. Last time we were hoodwinked by an electronic voter’s roll. Now we are being prepared for a bio-metric system.

    Ideally the opposition parties should set up a a committee to (amongst other activities) investigate this, to identify which company will supplying it, gather information on the possible ways to abuse the system and then decide whether to accept, counter or block it- well in advance of the election date. This should be an active process, even as we speak. It is not improbable for things in Zanu PF to deteriorate to a point where an election is precipitated in 2017, catching the opposition off-guard.

  3. sandura says:

    I also think the opposition should tackle and counter the systematic intimidation of rural electorate. Zanu manipulates the rural community structures, where village heads & kraal heads literally monitor how the people should vote, by keeping a tally of all people that have voted which is clear intimidation and rigging.

  4. TruthBTold says:

    This should be and should have always been a very vital priority. The opposing have so far failed miserably in this. A complete failure of duty to the nation. I urge them to make this one of their priorities.

  5. Sagitarr says:

    The opposition parties do not work in isolation. What are we, as supporters of opposition parties doing to ensure that rural people freely exercise their choice of leaders without risking their huts burnt by the terrorists? Are we prepared to be present at polling stations in the rurals during the election, or comfortable with armchair analysis?

  6. Nomusa Garikai says:

    It is hard to take these opposition parties seriously on anything given they have not done anything to implement even one reform and we are now two years away from the next elections!

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