ZAPU raises concerns over uneven electoral field

ZAPU says the ability of voters to freely choose their leaders is in serious doubt, given the uneven electoral playing field, which is benefitting the ruling Zanu PF party.

The opposition party said it has observed deep scepticism from citizens, local and international observers about the credibility of the August 23 elections.

These sentiments come as opposition parties such as the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) are unable to hold campaigns due to police restrictions or bans.

More recently, the High Court has nullified the candidacy of independent presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere, due to alleged violations of the electoral laws and the constitution, claiming he ceased to be a registered voter while out of the country for more than 18 months.

“More distressing is the fact that we see opposition political parties failing to campaign. This shows the electoral environment is controlled by Zanu and its authoritarian forces. As a mother party, we championed democracy when we resisted colonial oppression but the country is still oppressed,” said ZAPU National Organiser, Ndodana Moyo, in an interview with CITE.  

Moyo claimed barring political parties from participating freely in the polls was unfair to the electorate.

“Voter participation in this election may suffer considerably because people will not see a reason to vote,” he said, explaining that these preventative measures by the State would have a negative effect on voter turnout. 

“The State has been crafty, they charged high nomination fees which has seen ZAPU failing to field its presidential candidate and those who managed to pay the money cannot even campaign.” 

According to ZAPU’s national organiser, the government’s failure to carry out legal and electoral reforms also threatened the credibility of national elections.

“We see security force involvement in the electoral process – go to Zanu rallies, soldiers are the ones dishing out food and regalia to people. Can ZAPU or any other also do the same? No we cannot. There are abusive laws, such as the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA), which, despite being reformed, is used to prevent political parties from campaigning,” Moyo said.

“Then we add violence and intimidation, which all contribute to an environment that is not conducive to free and fair elections.” 

Weighing in on the subject, the leader of the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP), Mqondisi Moyo, claimed the electoral playing field in Zimbabwe has “never” been level since 1980.

“Zanu continues to use military force and all the uniformed forces. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is a puppet of Zanu and there have been no electoral reforms in place for the past 43 years,” he said.

“Like the Ian Douglas Smith regime, the Zanu government uses draconian laws. Smith used LOMA -the  Law and Order Maintenance Act, then (the late former president) Robert Mugabe changed it to POSA – Public Order Security Act, now (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa has changed it to MOPA.”

Moyo said all these draconian laws were meant to suppress and oppress the opposition parties.

“Remember they are now talking about the Patriotic Bill to punish people who will speak out against their thuggery.  Zanu through its Zimbabwe Republic Police are banning opposition political party rallies yet its election time,  how do opposition parties campaign?” questioned the MRP leader.

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