Zimbabwe’s main opposition alliance on Tuesday painted Zimbabwe’s capital Harare red as scores of people wearing the MDC Alliance’s colors came out in a demonstration calling for electoral reforms.
Thousands of people turned out to join the MDC Alliance as it petitioned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Gift Ostallos Siziba is with the Movement for Democratic Change and is part of the youthful group that has been running the campaign #Generation Consensus.
“People are gathered here to remind Justice (Priscilla) Chigumba, the chairperson of ZEC, that citizens are demanding free fair and credible elections. We want to make it categorically clear here, that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, with respect, Justice Chigumba must deliver free, fair and credible elections.”
Siziba added that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s slogan that Zimbabwe is open for business should be reinforced by a fair electoral process.
Pride Mukono, chairperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Youth, said his organization fears that the government is trying to manipulate ZEC ahead of the July 30th election. One major complaint is the lack of transparency about the preparations.
“That is what the people of Zimbabwe are saying. No to manipulation … That is why they are gathered here to say that it’s never too late to have a free and fair election. We want to know who is printing the ballot papers, we want to know how many ballot papers have been printed, we want an audit of the biometric voters’ roll.”
Siziba said the electoral commission will have to give in to their demands.
“Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has got no option. Robert Mugabe had no option. Emmerson Mnangagwa has no option. It’s either you deliver free and fair elections or you suffer the consequences of a marred and illegitimate government.
The government has pledged a fair election, the first since the army forced Mugabe out of office last November, ending his 37-year rule.
Munyaradzi Dodo, editor of an online publication Open Parly that covers parliament and political developments, said the peaceful march not achieve much.
“MDC had their chance in contributing to the Electoral Amendment Bill, they were not attending parliament hearings save for Priscilla Misihayirambwi and Jessie Majome who were fighting tooth and nail. So parliament is where those reforms come from.”
Dodo said with elections set for next month and parliament about to end its session soon, there is very little that can be done to change the electoral landscape.