Movement for Democratic Change founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai, says some Zimbabweans want the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and United Nations (UN) to monitor the electoral process in Zimbabwe ahead of the crucial 2018 polls.
Speaking after touring Manicaland province as part of his nationwide grassroots consultation process, Tsvangirai said traditional leaders and civic society members told him to ensure that the AU, SADC, UN and other independent bodies are roped in before the elections to curb voter fraud.
He said most people fear a repeat of previous national elections, which were allegedly rigged by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in favour of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party.
“People are concerned about the future … and high level of intimidation, especially the abuse of traditional leaders by Zanu PF … People are concerned about the potential for rigging especially given that were are now going to introduce the new electoral system, which is a system which captures the picture of a person and finger prints.”
Tsvangirai further noted that people are also concerned about the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which has conducted some national and local government polls in the country that have been condemned by some contestants as not free and fair.
He said the people are not happy about the involvement of the security forces in the electoral system.
“Fundamentally, people are concerned about past practices and that we need a fair and free electoral process. They are others who were concerned about the endorsement that comes from SADC, the AU when the situation is not free and fair. So, the question of monitoring elections becomes very critical and we assured them that the United Nations is involved through the purchase of biometric equipment.”
He noted that SADC, AU and UN should monitor the electoral process to ensure a free and fair poll.
Tsvangirai defeated President Mugabe in the 2008 presidential election and the nation waiting for a couple of weeks before the results were announced. The results showed that the MDC-T leader did garner enough votes to form a government.
Critics say the opposition leader won the presidential election, a claim that has been repeatedly dismissed by government as wishful thinking.