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National Youth Action Alliance Takes Aim at Makarau Over Voters' Roll

ZEC Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau.

Members of the National Youth Action Alliance demonstrated in Harare Friday demanding the immediate resignation of the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice Rita Makarau, to pave way for an independent commission.

The 100 youths marched from Town House to the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chanting slogans and blowing whistles.

The protestors were carrying banners and placards calling on Justice Makarau to step down.

They were locked out of the ZEC building by security details at the institution although one of their members was already inside the building where he delivered a petition to Makarau’s office.

One of the politicians who signed the petition, former St Mary's legislator Job Sikhala, addressed the protestors.

He called on Justice Makarau to step down for allegedly failing to run the disputed 2013 elections as well as failing to abide by her commission’s constitutional obligation to register people as voters.

Sikhala said Justice Makarau should resign immediately adding that the demonstrations would not stop until she and her fellow commissioners stepped aside.

Another activist who addressed the protesters is Gilbert Mutubuki, president of the Zimbabwe National Students Union, who doubles as the chairperson of the National Youth Action Alliance.

Mutubuki said his organization and others will urge Zimbabweans not to participate in the 2018 elections in the absence of a new voters’ roll compiled by an independent electoral commission.

Justice Makarau told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs this week that her commission is now responsible for registering voters in the country and not the discredited Registrar General's office.

She said ZEC will take full charge of the Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe and Mt Darwin West by-elections set for March 27. Justice Makarau told the committee that her commission was responsible for the compilation of the voters’ roll that will be used in those two by-elections.

After petitioning Makarau, the demonstrators took their protest to the streets and headed to parliament where they were chased away by heavily armed police details before submitting a copy of their petition.

Apart from Sikhala, other senior politicians that signed the petition are MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, MKD leader Simba Makoni and former finance minister Tendai Biti of the MDC Renewal Team.

In another election-related matter, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiuku has appointed a team of four judges as judges of the electoral court for a period of six months.

The appointed judges are Chinembiri Bhunu, Tendai Uchena, Martin Makonese and Andrew Mutema.