A LOCAL human rights lobby group has implored the African Union, Sadc and the international community to intervene in the setting up of a high-level multi-sectorial mediation initiative to assist the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to iron out all contested issues to avert disputed polls.
BY Everson Mushava
The National Transitional Justice Working Group Zimbabwe (NTJWG) yesterday said it envisaged a dangerous situation developing ahead of the Monday polls with the electoral field plagued with many issues mitigating the holding of free, fair and credible elections.
The lobby group said unless something was done to iron out contentious issues ahead of the plebiscite, Zimbabwe will soon be confronted by the ghost of past sham elections.
“Having identified these among many other issues, we see a very dangerous situation developing in Zimbabwe,” NTJWG chairman Alec Muchadehama said.
“We thus here call upon the leadership of political parties, Zec, Sadc, African Union and the international community not to wait until it is late to take steps to avoid unrest.
“We recommend the setting up of a high-level inclusive multi-sectoral mediation initiative to assist Zec in arresting the current situation and ensure all contested issues are ironed out in a way that restores the peoples’ confidence in the process.”
The opposition MDC Alliance has been pressuring for electoral reforms, particularly regarding the security and authenticity of the ballot paper and the voters’ roll, but Zec on Tuesday said it was bound by the law in the running of the elections and would not give in to opposition demands.
This forced the MDC Alliance to hold an emergency meeting to decide on the possibility of boycotting the elections if their demands are not met.
But the lobby group said it was concerned with unresolved cases of millitarisation of Zec, treats of violence by top Zanu PF officials if President Emmerson Mnangagwa loses in the forthcoming elections after playing a pivotal role with the aid of the military to remove former President Robert Mugabe last November.
“Zimbabwe cannot go back to a past of violence,” Muchadehama said.
“If the issues identified here are not addressed, we are surely headed back to that place where we are running away from.
“With sufficient maturity, we can avoid another disputed election and ensure that we break the legacy of contested elections. Contested elections are a recipe for instability in the not so distant future.”
The lobby group called on political leaders to make commitment to guarantee post-election peace.