Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is hopeful SADC and AU will finally exercise their influence on Zimbabwe to bring about much-needed electoral reforms that would usher in credible elections in its troubled member state. Zimbabwe heads for its high stakes elections in 2023 with the opposition increasingly apprehensive over government’s continued failure to rid the country’s poll systems of inherent flaws that have routinely tilted the vote in Zanu-PF’s favour. At a media briefing Thursday, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the party was in the process of preparing a dossier of government’s electoral breaches to take to the regional blocs as part of its efforts to press for elusive poll based reforms in Zimbabwe.
Mahere said CCC was inspired by the positive influence brought upon Zambian elections last August by the regional blocs. She said by-elections held in different parts of the country recently have been a dry run to pinpoint myriad electoral malpractices requiring urgent resolutions and were high on the opposition’s engagement agenda with the key regional blocs. “We have sharpened our approach since the 2018 elections, we took very important lessons even with these by-elections. “This has informed our engagement with the international community, particularly regional bodies around electoral processes that are going to take place in Zimbabwe.
“You will note that there has been a shift of approach by the region when it comes to elections; we saw the work they did in Zambia, Malawi and the work that continue to do in other jurisdictions. “So we are ensuring we have a dossier of information to give to them so that they are prepared and know from the get go what is taking place in Zimbabwe,” said Mahere. CCC recently submitted a dossier to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) requesting a bilateral dialogue to address electoral irregularities the opposition is keen to have resolved before 2023. ZEC, on the other hand, has turned down the opposition party’s requests insisting it could only entertain its issues under the auspices of the multi-party liaison committees.
Nelson Chamisa’s party has however short back at ZEC insisting there was no law prohibiting the controversial electoral body from engaging bilaterally on electoral issues. In her comments, Mahere said SADC and AU were obliged to take a tougher stance on Zimbabwe’s political affairs as the recurrent crisis birthed by its disputed polls has pushed a big chunk of the national population into neighbouring countries as economic refugees.
“The forced migration in Zimbabwe has started to create domestic crises in other jurisdictions such as South Africa, Botswana and Zambia,” she said. “So many of our citizens, which are close to three million were forced to migrate because of the government’s crisis, because of the economic crisis, because of the failure by Zanu-PF to rule us competently and constitutionally. “So they can see that the pressure is on them as well. It’s everybody’s interest that there is no disputed election in 2023,” she said. The Zanu-PF led government has adamantly dismissed claims the country’s poll systems favoured the ruling party and has described opponents as cry-babies.