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Zimbabwe Opposition Parties Sign Document Demanding Electoral Reforms

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

Some opposition political party leaders led by Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change on Wednesday signed a document committing them to fighting for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 election.

The document is dubbed National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA).

The parties that signed the document innclude the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, Zanu-Ndonga, Transform Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe United For Democracy, African Democratic Party and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe.

But many political parties including the National Constitutional Assembly, People's Democratic Party and ZAPU did not attend.

The absence of the majority of the opposition parties at the signing ceremony is according to some political analysts a sign of the growing fissures in those opposed to the ruling Zanu-PF party.

But the MDC-T is claiming that its pressure for reform is working as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has called all political parties for a crucial meeting Friday to discuss their concerns and come up with a strategic plan.

Efforts to get a comment from ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau were futile as her mobile phone went unanswered.

MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu told Voice of America that reforms must be implemented ahead of the 2018 election.

The main opposition parties including the MDC-T have been boycotting by-elections citing lack of reforms.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ruled out electoral reforms, telling opposition MDC-T leader Tsvangirai that Zanu PF will continue to rule while he "makes noise outside government".

"Zanu PF will not be moved by the reform mantra but will instead go ahead with the elections and will continue to rule forever," Mnangagwa told a campaign rally in Mutare in June.

For years, international observer groups have condemned Zimbabwe's elections. But Western countries and African countries have repeatedly exposed a deep divide in their reactions to the vote.

A host of European countries have decried Zimbabwe’s elections claiming that they are violent, chaotic and blatantly tilted in favor of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

But many African leaders have praised the elections, with the African Union observer missions calling them "transparent, credible, free and fair."

Analysts say some African leaders always support Mr. Mugabe regarded as a liberation hero, protecting their own undemocratic regimes and trying to maintain regional stability.

But they also criticized the West for ignoring the most flawed elections on the continent and focusing only on the vote in Harare allegedly because Mr. Mugabe seized land from the majority whites and resettled the majority blacks.

Interview With Obert Gutu
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