Zimbabweans free to decide on elections – Holland

HARARE – Sekai Holland, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, has said it is the right of every Zimbabwean to demand the postponement of elections if they feel democratic reforms which make voting free and fair have not been implemented.\r\n

"In our time, we would be actually telling leaders that we are not ready for elections because who is going to vote if people don’t think there are ready for elections?

"I don’t see any civil society action where people are saying we are not ready to vote because we want this and this done, nobody is saying that, so we are continuing the culture of  that Zimbabweans are there to obey and to be abused,” Holland,  who is co-chair of National Healing and Reconciliation told youths at a meeting to discuss the healing and reconciliation programme in Harare,Thursday.

The abrasive MDC- T official who is also the co-chairperson of the Organ on National Healing and Reconcilliation, said youths and ordinary citizens must organize themselves to fight setbacks they are facing to achieve freedom.

"I was in the diaspora when  Ian Smith was here as Prime Minister and I never thought our efforts to remove him were going to yield independence of any kind because it was very difficult but people really organized themselves and they got independence,"
Holland said.

"Change does not come from us with all the things that hold us back. We should really know that it is courage that we need to make sure that what we are talking about does take place."

Holland said the concept of national healing must include everyone and the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation becomes effective only  if people participate in the process.

"It is work which needs people to understand national healing is everybody’s business," Holland said. "Zimbabweans must all agree that peace is an option; it cannot be done by one group."

Human rights and pro-democracy groups have dismissed the inclusive government’s attempt at instituting national healing and forgiveness as cheap talk.

Victims of the 2008 political violence among them opposition supporters, contend that for forgiveness and healing to be achieved, the state should bring to book the culprits who  many say have Zanu-PF links.

In the run up to the 2008 June Presidential run off,  Zanu PF supporters in the volatile provinces of Mashonaland East and Central, ran a retribution exercise against perceived MDC supporters in a campaign that  killed hundreds and left others maimed.

Against this background, sceptics of both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, say their call for early polls in 2011 is not out of touch with reality.

Business leaders argue that early elections would negate the gains made in the economy by the inclusive government.

Civic society organizations that have stepped up pressure on SADC to act on the deteriorating political environment in the country want a clear roadmap and far reaching reforms before elections are held. – Daily News