No reform, No election – MDC-T

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Moses Matenga

HARARE – The opposition MDC-T has threatened to boycott the July 30 harmonised elections if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission fails to consider their demands.

This comes as scores of party supporters, led by MDC Alliance Presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa, protested in central Harare demanding among other things, the demilitarisation of ZEC and audit of the voters’ roll.

MDC-T organising secretary, Amos Chibaya, told Business Times his party will not participate in an election run under the ‘current set up’.

He said they have lined up a series of countrywide protests to force the electoral body to act on their demands.

“As government they are also responsible for making sure we have a free and fair election. This is just the beginning and if those conditions are not met, the truth of the matter is we will stop that election,” Chibaya said.

“We are going to demonstrate not only in Harare but throughout the country and ensure the people of Zimbabwe are given an opportunity to exercise their rights in a free and fair environment.”

He was speaking after a demonstration that saw a petition being handed over to ZEC officials at their Harare offices.

The demonstrations were dubbed the ‘free and fair election peace’ march.

Chamisa, who is the MDC Alliance Presidential candidate, addressed the supporters before leading them to ZEC offices to hand over the petition.

“You say the voice of the people is the voice of God. That voice is saying “implement electoral reforms,” Chamisa said.

MDC Alliance partner Tendai Biti said: “We are here to make a statement that we are not going to participate in predetermined election.”

Murisi Zwizwai, a senior MDC-T official, said they were prepared to ‘die’ for the cause.

“Without reforms there will be no election in Zimbabwe. The seed left by (the late MDC-T leader) Tsvangirai was a seed for change. We are not afraid to die. We are prepared to die and we are prepared to be arrested for this cause,” Zwizwai said.

The National Patriotic Front, a grouping of former Zanu PF G40 elements, also participated in the march and were represented by spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire, former Harare South Member of Parliament, Shadreck Mashayamombe and former youth leader Jim Kunaka among others.

President Emerson Mnangagwa, the Zanu PF Presidential candidate, proclaimed July 30 as the election date and has started his campaigns ahead of the polls.

This year’s elections will be the first since 2000 without bitter rivals, Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai on the ballot box.

Mugabe was forced to resign last year after a military intervention while Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer of the colon in February this year.