Zec must scrap proof of residence requirement

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

A democratic, free and fair election entails that all eligible voters, without exception, are not deliberately and/or unnecessarily disenfranchised through a cumbersome and difficult process of registering as voters.

As such, ZEC should immediately recall the draft statutory instrument that will make it mandatory for all prospective voters to produce proof of residence. It is a fact that the majority of urban dwellers are lodgers and tenants who will not easily have access to proof of residence such as utility bills etc.

For the record, the MDC would like to state that it is one of the several stakeholders that strenuously argued against the planned move to make it mandatory for people to produce written proof of residence before they can be permitted to register as voters. In fact, the party wrote a letter to the ZEC chairperson, Rita Makarau, on April 20, 2017, making our party position on this crucial issue abundantly clear. We advocate for a system whereby people must be allowed to register as voters as long as they can affirm their places of residence during the voter registration exercise.

We are acutely aware of the fact that the Zanu PF regime is already sensing a crushing and humiliating defeat in next year’s elections and as such, they are trying to influence ZEC to make it extremely difficult for most people, to register to vote. It is trite that dictatorships thrive on voter apathy as well as on voter demotivation and intimidation. The MDC will not allow ZEC to unconstitutionally usurp the right of all eligible Zimbabweans to register as voters.

We take this opportunity to, once again, call upon Zimbabweans, particularly the youth, to ensure that they register to vote as soon as ZEC commences the voter registration exercise. We are marching to a resounding and historic victory and we are very confident that a new dawn is about to arise in Zimbabwe. We should not be discouraged from registering to vote simply because the Zanu PF regime is trying every trick in the book to derail the people’s march to victory. The people’s victory is guaranteed as long as we turn out in our millions to register to vote as well as to cast our vote on polling day.

MDC: Equal Opportunities For All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson

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ZEC must stamp its authority

Time for ZEC to stamp authority

In the past few weeks, Zimbabweans have noticed their fellow citizens being frog - marched and commandeered to attend so - called Zanu PF youth rallies in Marondera and Mutare. We have observed how innocent school children are being bussed to fill up stadiums in order to massage the personal ego of Robert Mugabe. Thousands of people are being forced by Zanu PF thugs to attend these so - called youth rallies that are being addressed by Mugabe. Businesses are forcibly closed and vendors' markets are shut down as struggling and poor Zimbabweans are commandeered to attend these rallies against their consent.

The MDC would like to call upon the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to immediately take action to ensure that people are not forced and commandeered to attend these Zanu PF political rallies. This state of affairs doesn't bode well for the holding of free and fair elections in 2018. The people of Zimbabwe are still being intimidated and threatened with death and/or some other such grievous consequences if they refuse to attend these Zanu PF rallies that are being addressed by Mugabe countrywide. There is a pervading atmosphere of fear that is still being felt throughout the country as the toiling masses of Zimbabwe are being driven like lambs to the slaughter, to attend Zanu PF rallies.

As we approach the 2018 elections, ZEC should exercise its constitutional authority to ensure that no political party, including the ruling Zanu PF party, is allowed to force and commandeer people to attend its rallies and other meetings. How can a free and fair election be held in an atmosphere of extreme fear and intimidation? We also call upon SADC and the AU to take note of the continuing and unchecked behaviour of the Zanu PF regime that ashamedly forces and commandeers innocent and defenceless Zimbabweans to attend its political rallies.

This rabid and terrorist regime is harvesting from fear and of course, this is a grim indicator of the fact that this regime is reluctant to reform itself in order to allow for the holding of a credible plebiscite next year.

Zimbabwe remains in a deepening and debilitating political and socio - economic crisis and as such, both the regional and international communities cannot fold their arms and watch as the situation in Zimbabwe spirals out of control ahead of make or break elections in 2018.

The MDC remains confident, however, that it will easily roam to victory in next year's elections and form the next government if the climate of fear presently obtaining in Zimbabwe is rectified as a matter of urgency. We urge Zimbabweans to remain resolute and determined to vote the evil and rapacious Zanu PF regime out of power in next year's elections.

MDC : Equal Opportunities For All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson

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