Nera walks out of Zec meeting

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­ Opposition parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) yesterday walked out of a meeting with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in protest against “unfair treatment” by the national elections body. Nera is a grouping of 18 political parties pushing for electoral reforms ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2018 election.

The parties want Zec to implement a biometric voters’ roll, clean the voters’ roll and that the organisation be run by independent officers who are not appointed at the behest of President Robert Mugabe. Speaking to the Daily News, Nera’s legal affairs head, Douglas Mwonzora, said Zec was not treating political parties fairly.

“Nera members walked out of the meeting. The deadline to make submissions was August 30, but Zec informed Nera after the deadline, therefore Zec and the government are not acting in good faith,” he said. “We were unable to send our grievances after we were informed late,” Mwonzora said, adding that “we are going to resume our struggle which is demonstrating and going to court”.

The MDC secretary­general accused Zec of creating other small political parties, which voted in their favour. “There is proliferation of bogus political parties, which is definitely Zec’s creation. Today (yesterday), there were a number of small political parties which came to the meeting, they were voting in favour of Zec,” Mwonzora said. Opposition parties accuse Zec of being sympathetic to Zanu PF, but it has rejected that claim. In 2008, Zec was accused of massive ballot manipulation after it failed to release the presidential election results for six weeks. Efforts to get comment from Zec were fruitless. Yesterday’s meeting comes as Zec is set to hold a stakeholders’ meeting on September 15.

“The meeting is one of Zec’s initiatives to continuously engage with valued stakeholders and to discuss issues raised in their last meeting held in May 2016,” Zec said. Last week, Nera convener Didymus Mutasa insisted that the meeting will not stop the planned demonstrations. “Only two members of each party are going to attend the meeting and it’s . . . futile on their party. A few people will attend this meeting while the rest are going to express their views through demonstrations,” the former State Security minister said.

Source ; Daily News

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