Fight for reforms is not preserve for politicians and MDC alone says Gutu

HARARE – “Zimbabweans from wherever they are must realise that though MDC is the biggest political party in the country, it has no monopoly over demands for citizens’ respect of constitutionalism and rule of law.

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GUTU

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Every patriotic citizen in and outside the country, the church, students, the unemployed, the gainfully employed and business must all share one common vision of freeing the country from the clutches of tyranny,” said Obert Gutu, MDC-T spokesperson.

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His statement comes as the fight for the implementation of outstanding reforms threatens to spill into the courts ahead of the March by-elections. The MDCled by Morgan Tsvangirai threatened court action to stop the by-elections until agreed reforms are implemented.

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Observers have blamed MDC for failing to have the reforms implemented when it was in the GNU for five years with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister.

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Dhewa Mavhinga, a human rights activist and political commentator with Human Rights Watch, said citizens had a role to play in calling for reforms. “Boycotting elections alone may not be fruitful, as the opposition must adopt an aggressive and consistent strategy to bring about the reforms,” he said.

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Without reforms the credibility of all future elections remains questionable. “There is also need to act on recommendations made by ZEC, SADC and the AU observer missions on the July 2013 elections, not to mention the outstanding reforms,” he added.

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Dr Philan Zamchiya, a political commentator and former lecturer at Oxford University, said the political field had not changed following the 2013 elections, so the by-elections would not be credible.

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Tawanda Chimhini, director of the Election Resource Centre, said elections would only be free, fair and credible when ZEC became independent of political interference and conducted itself in accordance with public expectations.

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“The Zambian Electoral Commission managed to fully prepare for the recent snap presidential election and ZEC should do the same for by-elections and general polls. It should demand independence as political parties would never give it on a silver platter,” Chimhini said.

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He also urged ZEC to adopt technology to help improve the credibility of elections.

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Solomon Bobosibunu of ZESN called on ZEC to emulate its Zambian counterpart “who remained resolute and determined to deliver despite political pressure to manipulate the outcome”. – The Zimbabwean