THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says the ouster of former Robert Mugabe after a military takeover will not affect next year’s elections.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA/ OBEY MANAYITI
ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau said the events of the last two weeks that saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking over after his mentor was forced to step down will not affect the preparations for the harmonised polls.
“I think Zimbabwe is ready for elections. I think more than before because people are now free to express their views, so more than before I think Zimbabweans are ready,” she said.
Makarau said the army takeover did not affect the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise.
“We are on schedule for elections and voter registration is continuing, so we will want all those people who are here in the stadium and all those who were in the streets to register to vote,” she said.
ZEC, which started the blitz in August aiming to register seven million voters, has only managed to register three million people, with just 24 days before the exercise ends. However, Makarau said they were still confident that the target would be met.
“We are still hoping to reach the other four million and we expect everybody else to assist us to reach that target,” she said.
“Depending on the statistics that we will get and the reports that we will get from the provinces where we need to mop up in certain areas, we may need to extend the deadline that we gave ourselves.”
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the military should not play a role in elections and should now return to the barracks.
“Electoral reforms that include complete and thorough de-politicisation of traditional leaders should, thus, be promptly put in place in time for next year’s elections,” he said.
“That is the real acid test of the new president’s inauguration speech.
“Elections in Zimbabwe have been routinely rigged and manipulated in favour of the ruling party.
“Zanu PF has developed a notorious record of violence, thuggery and intimidation; particularly during electioneering times.”