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Progress and gaps as Zimbabwe heads for elections
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
November 30, 2012

ZESN held a public meeting at the New Ambassador Hotel on the 28th of November 2012. The topic was "An analysis of the Electoral Reforms: Progress and Gaps as we head for elections in 2013". There were three speakers from different political parties namely Prof. John Makumbe representing MDC-T, Ms. Shiriyedenga representing the MDC, Mr. Goodson Nguni representing ZANU PF and the moderator was Mr. Charles Mangongera.

Major highlights were as follows:

  • The speakers highlighted that considerable electoral reforms have been adopted but more could be done to have a conducive environment for elections in 2013.
  • Prof Makumbe pointed out the numerous positive developments ushered in by the GNU. These include the setting up and reviving of commissions and the enactment of the Electoral Amendment Act of 2012, the Human Rights Act 2012, and a revived Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. He also noted that the presence of JOMIC was commendable, and has led to the reduction of polarization among political parties and their supporters and upheld the progress made on the COPAC Draft constitution.
  • Having noted the progress made by the GNU in electoral reforms he highlighted that there is still need for more media reforms as evidenced by the polarisation in the local media. He further highlighted that although the government had introduced a number of Commissions these were incapacitated by the lack of adequate financing and clear mandate.
  • On the issue of elections in 2013, Prof Makumbe declared that it was not possible to have them in March as numerous reforms had to be effected and the last week of June would be more feasible to hold elections.
  • Ms Ellen Shiriyedenga, the Director of elections for the MDC led by Prof Ncube, highlighted that the birth of the GNU was because of disputed elections and as such it was a mandate for the GNU to ensure that it created an environment which will have an undisputed election results.
  • She agreed that the Electoral Amendment Act 2012 contained considerable reforms which include voter education provisions a clearer role of the commission, among other provisions. On the issue of elections she concurred with Prof Makumbe saying that March 2013 was not feasible given the current political situation.
  • She also pointed that the Electoral Amendment Act had a code of conduct for political parties which addressed issues of hate speech, violence and this was commendable and urged parties to let this cascade to provincial and district levels. She said the gaps on reforms was on the relaxation of voter registration requirements as it is simply a principle, the voters roll which is still in shambles and the denial of Diaspora voting. She said the progress offered a semblance of hope but more should be done for all this to be implemented on the ground.
  • Mr Goodson Nguni represented ZANU PF and revealed that he wanted elections as soon as yesterday as the GNU was not working. He said the present environment is conducive to have elections, and questioned the agenda of parties that want electoral reforms.
  • He argued that the calls for reforms to the media, the military and the electoral landscape do not mean anything and that elections will go ahead without the reforms.

The public urged the political parties to look up to the Post-election period, as this is the main concern of the citizens. A debate over the most practical election date ensued with the different political parties and the participants exchanging their views on Zimbabwe's readiness for elections by March 2013.

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