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Zimbabwe MDC opposition launches election policy document

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC Alliance on Thursday launched its election policy document in which it promises to implement diverse and innovative polices that will transform Zimbabwe into a middle income economy by 2023.

Party president Nelson Chamisa launched the policy document dubbed Sustainable and Modern Agenda for Real Transformation (SMART) under the theme “Behold the New. Change that Delivers.”

Chamisa said once elected into office, his government will implement policies that will revamp and modernize the country’s dilapidated infrastructure, accelerate economic growth and improve the living standards of the people.

He said their aim was to make Zimbabwe a 100 billion dollars economy by 2029 through aggressive foreign investment attraction, trade facilitation and efficient utilization of the country’s natural resources.

“This document is a transformation document. It will change your lives. It’s an answer to all the challenges that Zimbabwe faces,” said the 40-year old Chamisa who will challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the July 30 election.

The ruling ZANU-PF party launched its election manifesto last month under the theme “Unite, fight corruption, develop, re-engage, create jobs.”



Zimbabwe president says electoral playing field now level following new law

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the electoral playing field is now level following his signing of new electoral laws.

He was reacting to the demonstration on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and his city center offices by thousands of opposition activists making a raft of demands covering the current electoral environment.

The Herald newspaper reported Wednesday that Mnangagwa told reporters at State House that the uninterrupted demonstration showed that the opposition was enjoying democracy after he instructed security agencies to let it go ahead.

“They are enjoying democracy which exists in this country. I think they are so happy that there is an environment where they can express themselves right, left and centre. But of course in relation to the forthcoming harmonized elections, already less than two weeks ago, I signed into law the reforms relating to the Electoral Act, so the playing field is perfectly level,” he said.

Previous demonstrations had generally been met with heavy handedness from authorities during former President Robert Mugabe’s time.

Seven opposition parties under the banner of the MDC Alliance handed over a petition to ZEC and Mnangagwa demanding minimum conditions for the holding of “free, fair and credible elections”.

They said that the elections should be held in full compliance of the country’s constitution, the Electoral Act, the SADC principles and guidelines on democratic elections and the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

The parties are also demanding that there be full and proper agreement by all stakeholders on the procurement, security, quality and movement of all ballot material - in particular, the ballot paper.

Also among their demands is that ZEC should immediately retire any security personnel in its secretariat, whether currently or formerly employed by the security services, and that all military personnel allegedly deployed in rural areas should be withdrawn.

Although international observers are already coming on pre-election assessments, the alliance also demanded that “all international observers and monitors should now be allowed immediate access to Zimbabwe to monitor the election.

They also demanded equal access to and equal coverage of all political parties in the public media, in particular, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

“The holding of the 30th of July election is dependent on the conditions set above,” they warned.


Zimbabwe ruling party youths hold march for peaceful poll

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of youths from Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party on Wednesday held a march in the capital Harare to support the call by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for a violence-free election.

Zimbabwe will hold elections on July 30, the first without former president Robert Mugabe and his longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai who died of cancer in February.

Since assuming office in November last year following the resignation of Mugabe, Mnangagwa has been urging all political parties to ensure a violence-free election.

Previous elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by violence perpetrated by both the ruling ZANU-PF and opposition parties.

Mnangagwa has invited international observers for the July election, including those from the West that have been banned since 2002.

Several election observer teams have also arrived in Zimbabwe for pre-election assessments.

The march by the youths comes a day after the opposition MDC Alliance on Tuesday staged a demonstration in Harare to demand broader electoral reforms to ensure credible polls.

In his address to the youths, ZANU-PF Youth League secretary Pupurai Togarepi reiterated the need for ZANU-PF supporters to observe peace and remain calm when provoked to ensure the country holds peaceful polls.

“We have elements in this country who believe in chaos, anarchy and violence but our president Mnangagwa is saying no to that. We need a peaceful election,” he said.

He castigated the opposition for making several demands to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, saying the opposition failed to utilize the past five years when it was in parliament to push for electoral reforms.

“The reason why they are making noise and criticizing ZEC is that they are afraid of losing the election. They have not adequately prepared for this election,” Togarepi said.

The opposition is demanding that at least 10 crucial reforms must be implemented before polls, including transparency in the printing of ballot papers, independent audit of the voters’ roll, diaspora vote, removal of military personnel at ZEC and fair media coverage for all political parties


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