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Bulawayo Agenda activity update
Bulawayo Agenda

April 29, 2013

Masvingo

More than 300 Masvingo residents attended an Election Debate organized by Bulawayo Agenda at Charles Austin Civic Centre on Friday (26/04/13) evening. The debate followed the successful launch of the series in Bulawayo and another debate held in Gwanda. The topic for the day was centered on the country’s preparedness for elections. Honourable Tongai Matutu (Provincial Secretary-MDC-T), Charumbira Munengiwa (Provincial Chairman-MDC) and Tichaona Sithole (Provincial Chairman-Zapu) represented their parties.

Below are some highlights of the debate;

MDC formations and Zapu concurred that the political environment is not conducive for elections due to the outstanding Media and Security Sector reforms and lack of Rule of Law.

The MDC formations also concurred that 29 June will be an ordinary day in Zimbabwe as it can neither be politically ideal or legally compelling to hold the elections on that date.

The MDC-T representative challenged Zanu-PF to agree to the implementation of reforms before elections if they want them to be held early.

International observers should be allowed to come and observe the elections and be given a longer pre and post observation periods.

MDC’s Munengiwa said ‘villages have been militarized and the military has been villagised’ as soldiers are seen toy-toying every morning in Masvingo thereby instilling fear on residents.

Mr Munengiwa also added that the ZEC Secretariat must be reformed before elections as most of the secretariat members are former operatives of the CIO. An audit of the secretariat has to be done and their profiles publicized so as to promote transparency in that institution.

Concerns were raised on the impartiality of ZEC Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau due to her yesteryear (90s) appointment as a Zanu-PF non-constituency Member of Parliament. This was cited as a possible stain on the independence of ZEC.

All the political parties declared that they are ready for elections as long as adequate and agreed reforms are implemented.

The Bulawayo Agenda Research and Information Manager, Mr Mmeli Dube thanked the Masvingo residents for coming out in their numbers to hear their leaders speak to them. He said the debates will also include candidates in future when the primaries have been conducted. He highlighted that the debates are meant to bring politicians and citizens together so that the later may make informed decisions during elections.

Zanu-PF despite, confirming attendance eventually failed to send a representative for this debate.

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