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MDC comments on Nathan Shamuyarira's remarks on Electoral Reforms at Victoria Falls
David Coltart, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
August 04, 2004

The MDC notes with interest the ostensibly conciliatory remarks made by ZANU PF's Secretary for Information and Publicity Nathan Shamuyarira at the Victoria Falls conference calling upon the MDC to enter into dialogue regarding electoral reforms.

The International Community should not be beguiled by these remarks because they are typical of ZANU PF duplicity. ZANU PF talks with a forked tongue. In one breath they talk reconciliation and democratic electoral reforms and yet at the same time they are busy pushing through parliament new draconian legislations such as the NGO Bill and out in the field they are busy torturing outstanding MDC members of parliament and supporters.

In the light of this pattern of duplicity, we remain unimpressed by the proposed cosmetic reforms to the electoral process. Until we hear from ZANU PF on when they are prepared to repeal draconian legislation, open up the air waves, give us access to voters roll, allocate the compilation of the voters roll to a new and independent body, disband youth militia, and generally restore the rule of law and a democratic environment, we will remain of the belief that ZANU PF is not genuine about electoral reforms. As the things stand, it is obvious that ZANU PF has cynically chosen aspects of our demands for electoral reforms, which if taken in the overall oppressive environment prevailing in Zimbabwe today, will compliment other measures designed by ZANU PF to intimidate the electorate into voting for them. For Example, whilst we have demanded that counting of votes be done at polling stations, if votes counting is done in the context of an oppressive environment, it will make communities even more fearful than before in voting for ZANU PF.

It is for these reasons that we reiterate that the conditions set out in our Restore document as absolute minimum conditions be fulfilled, and unless all these conditions are met, a democratic electoral environment will not be established.

If ZANU PF is prepared to totally revamp our electoral system to bring it into fully compliance with SADC and International standards, then it can expect to receive total co-operation from the MDC. However if it is determined to merely tinker with aspects of the electoral process, (which in some respects may even make for an even more intimidatory environment,) then it must not expect to receive co-operation from the MDC.

For our part we will continue to work with our friends in the civil society and our friends in the regional governments to ensure that Zimbabwe's electoral process becomes truly democratic irrespective of what ZANU PF's intentions are.

David Coltart
Secretary for Legal Affairs

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