HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and opposition parties who have been haggling over electoral reforms are meeting in the Inyanga resort town in a bid to find common ground over unresolved electoral issues.
This comes as the opposition says it has gathered “overwhelming information” that the Commission wants to disenfranchise voters in their urban strongholds by increasing voter registration points in the rural areas.
Election experts from the Sadc are expected to be part of the workshop where opposition parties have been given a slot to make their submissions.
The meeting comes as opposition political parties have set conditions for the implementation of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits and the reduction of the “prohibitive price” for acquiring a hard copy of the voters’ roll.
The opposition parties coalescing under the banner National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) say they are being asked by the Zec to fork out $150 000 to access a hard copy of the voters’ roll.
“The purpose of the workshop is to discuss electoral disputes, prevention and resolution in Zimbabwe,” MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said on Thursday.
“Our thrust is that the Zimbabwean elections are now an international problem as they involve contravention of various international conventions. They are now a serious problem involving the wilful breach of the Constitution by government,” he said.
Mwonzora added: “At local level they are now a political economic and social problem. It is therefore impossible for Zimbabwe to resolve the problem of unfree and unfair elections without the involvement of the international community. But Zimbabweans have to unite in the fight for electoral reform. This is the time to unite.”
Other demands Nera is making include that the BVR kits be used to enable Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora to register to vote.
Nera has also challenged the national election body to ensure that political parties have voter registration agents at every voting centre.