Police have granted Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) permission to go ahead with their planned march on Tuesday, 5 June.
The demonstration is aimed at the country’s election body’s failure to implement a range of electoral reforms.
The MDC believes these reforms are the basis for a free and credible election that the Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been preaching and promising.
“Our peaceful discussions and negotiations have yielded nothing, so we will be flooding the streets of Harare on Tuesday the firth of June 2018,” says MDC Alliance Principal Tendai Biti.
The opposition MDC alliance is rallying its charges in demanding what they believe are the preconditions and requisites for a free and fair election.
Chief among them is the issue of the voters roll. “Zimbabwe Election Commission has not attended to rudimentary components of electoral descents, just basic things. So the first basic thing is the voters roll, as you know the voters roll inspection period only ended on the 29 May. So political parties and candidates do not have access to that voters roll, yet the voters roll is so key in the election process particularly on nomination because a candidate can only be nominated by people that are on the voters roll,” says Biti.
However the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) dismissed the claims saying all political parties will have free access to the voters’ roll before 14 June when nomination court sits.
“The final voters’ roll will be available a few days before sitting of the nomination court. It will be availed to successful candidates at the nomination court, free of charge at our expense if you have been successfully nominated for council, successfully nominated to Parliament, if you are successfully nominated as a presidential candidate, you will receive a soft copy or an e-copy of the final voters roll at the commission’s expense. Thereafter such copies and or hard copies will be available to any member of the public who approaches our secretariat and pays the requisite fee,” says Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba.
The ruling ZANU PF has described the call by the MDC as a desperate attempt to seek attention and disrupt the prevailing peaceful environment in the country.
“What comes out abundantly clear is that the MDC-T is a violent and retrogressive party whose existence thrives on chaos and suffering of the people, hence the utterances cannot come as a surprise. The Zanu PF party urges all peace loving Zimbabweans to shun violence and be united as they prepare to freely exercise their democratic right to elect leaders of their choice as treasured in the national constitution,” ZANU PF Spokesperson, SK Moyo.
Previous demonstrations by the opposition in the past have turned violent as demonstrators and police clashed.