HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said yesterday it was not worried about opposition plans for a peaceful protest today to press for electoral reforms.
MDC youths will gather in central Harare today for the latest protest to demand political change and wider electoral reforms.
Zec chairperson Rita Makarau told journalists during an update on how far it has gone in preparation of the 2018 elections that the electoral body felt serene about calls for protests.
“We will not stand in the way of their demonstrations, it’s their democratic right to demonstrate . . . and . . . we have reached out to them. We had a meeting with political parties late last week where we gave them this (election preparation) information.
“During that meeting, we made it quite clear to them that we were open to receive their representations on how we can improve on the distribution plan that we came up with,” Makarau said, adding that they will keep engaging with all political parties ahead of the 2018 elections
Makarau reiterated last week’s statement that they will not be setting polling stations outside Zimbabwe, calling upon those in the Diaspora to come and register to vote back home if they were willing to participate in next year’s elections.
She also said that they have already paid 50 percent of the total amount required by Laxton Group which won the tender to provide biometric voter registration (BVR) kits.
A conglomeration of opposition parties, including the MDC, want the next vote in 2018 to be supervised by international observers, including the United Nations and seek changes in election laws they say hinder a free and fair vote.
MDC youth assembly leader Happymore Chidziva told the Daily News last week they will not fold their hands while Zec remains reluctant to implement poll reforms.
The opposition has long alleged that Zec remains biased in favour of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF and is run by the party’s functionaries, charges the national elections’ management body denies.