Public hearings expose cracks in GNU
By Chengetai Zvauya and Bridget Mananavire
HARARE – On going Electoral Amendment Bill public hearings being conducted
by a special parliamentary committee across the country have exposed the
deepening cracks in the shaky coalition government.
Opinions from participants show that there is no unity of purpose among
coalition government partners.
The parties supporters on the ground are equally divided, as it turns out
that members of both MDC and Zanu PF are torn right in the middle on how
Zimbabwe’s next elections should be conducted.
Since the formation of the coalition government in February 2009 following
disputed elections, Zanu PF and MDC have been on a collision course,
fighting on various economic and political issues.
The differences are now playing out at the public hearings, where violence
has often been recorded.
Differences are mostly on the participation of foreign observers and civil
society in elections. The issue on whether to allow exiled Zimbabweans to
vote has also resulted in clashes between Zanu PF and MDC supporters at the
MDC participants during the Bill hearings demanded that election results be
announced within 48 hours after completion of voting, and that the incumbent
president should vacate state house three days before the polls.
“We want the results as soon as possible to avoid tempering of the ballot,
Zambia should be an example of good election conduct,” said one participant.
However, Zanu PF members want election results to be announced within five
days of voting.
Residents in Mutare’s poor Sakubva suburb said civil society should be
allowed to take part in the electoral process by offering voter education.
In Mutasa, most people were of the view that people in the Diaspora must not
be allowed to vote.
They were also against foreign observers and foreign funding for both
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and political parties.
Their argument was that Western countries that imposed financial and travel
sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his close associates should not be
allowed to influence Zimbabwe’s voting process.
However, an end to political violence was a point of agreement for
supporters of the different political parties. This comes after some of the
hearings were disrupted by violent Zanu PF militants.
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