People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) Concerns Over Political & Electoral Reforms

People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) led by Dr J. R. Mujuru notes with serious concern that despite writing to Mr E. D. Mnangagwa a plea for political and electoral reforms on the 23rd of February 2018, and which correspondence was also copied to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the same day; PRC’s plea has neither been responded to or acknowledged by Mr E. D. Mnangagwa’s office. Further, there is nothing on the horizon of Zimbabwe’s political landscape to demonstrate that the current military regime has the will power to ensure that electoral reforms are done besides globe trotting and misrepresenting to the world that Zimbabweans are now in a new era. Yes the regime could be given the benefit of doubt that Zimbabweans are now in a new era of worse of dictatorship. PRC, as the government in waiting, insists that electoral and political reforms are a must; should the country hope for a free, fair and credible elections.

To that end, PRC now puts the regime on notice that should key reforms be ignored for the holding of free, fair and credible elections, then PRC as the government in waiting is going to take every constitutional means available in order to protect the Zimbabwean democratic vote. PRC hereunder reminds the military regime of its unwavering demand for reforms as follows;

The People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) consisting of the Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE), National People’s Party (PDP) and Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE).

Concerned with the military activities of 13, 14 and 15 November 2017 which reproduced a crisis of legitimacy through an unconstitutional change of Government of Zimbabwe

Believing that any election that takes place in a context that is poisoned by military diffusion into the political arena can neither be free, fair or credible;

Noting that elections should be held within the next six months;

Concerned with political violence against members of the opposition including the brutal attack on the PRC Presidential Candidate Dr Joice Mujuru on the 1st of February in Glen View Harare; and

Desiring to restore constitutional order and legitimacy of Government in Zimbabwe.

Hereby demand that the following key Political and Electoral Reforms be urgently implemented ahead of the forthcoming Elections in Zimbabwe.

Electoral Integrity 
PRC calls upon SADC, AU Commission and UN to assist Zimbabwe with maintenance of purity and transparency of the 2018 election process. We implore these supranational bodies to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted in line with the SADC Principles and Guidelines governing elections as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance among other regional and international instruments which guarantee the integrity of elections.

Traditional leadership authority 
PRC calls for the immediate depoliticisation of the fetishised institution of the traditional leadership authority. Section 281 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that traditional leaders including chiefs, headmen/women and village heads must remain apolitical, impartial, fair and inclusive in their communities. Like the colonial regime before it, ZANU PF has usurped the institution of the traditional leadership authority and made it an extension of itself and this must be stopped immediately to allow rural voters to freely exercise their right to elect a government of their choice without fear and intimidation.

Demilitarization of the electoral process
PRC calls for the demilitarization of the electoral process. All members of the security forces, in adherence to the Constitution must first and foremost protect the Zimbabwean citizens despite their political affiliation. ZANU PF Commissariat and government have deployed an estimated 3000 military officials in civilian clothes into both urban and rural communities to campaign for ZANU PF ahead of the elections. These and other security personnel deployed in various institutions including Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be weeded out urgently. They have no role in an election except maintaining peace and security for all. Above everything else; PRC demands the military should make a public declaration of non-interference with electoral processes before the elections of 2018 are held.

Political violence and intimidation 
One of the defining epithets of elections in Zimbabwe is political violence. Widespread intimidation of voter persists and organized ZANU PF thugs spread fear across communities in the build up to the 2018 elections as witnesses on the 1st of February 2018 against the PRC Presidential Candidate Dr Joice Mujuru and her supporters. ZANU PF party officials are also going around the communities recording serial numbers of Voters Registration Slips as an election intimidation tactic. PRC therefore demands an end to the recording of serial numbers of potential voters. PRC also demand that the electoral environment must be free from political violence, selective prosecution and suppression of political campaigns, repressive laws and practices and protection of electoral criminals.

Media reforms 
PRC believes that the media plays a pivotal role in elections and therefore reiterates its call for substantial and urgent equal access to the State Media both print and electronic. All political parties have the right to have their content aired on State Television and Radio Stations. PRC further demands that State Newspapers and Reporters report news in a professional and impartial manner. Further, the public must not be used to promote hate speech against sections and views of those opposed to the ruling party.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
PRC demands the immediate dissolution of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the creation of New Electoral Management Body that should be negotiated by all political parties in an inclusive platform. The current ZEC in not independent, and has been at the centre of all the flawed electoral process in Zimbabwe.

Diaspora vote 
Despite the clear directions of the Constitution on the rights of all Zimbabwean citizens to vote, ZEC is yet to make arrangements to enable the Diaspora to exercise this right. Section 67 of the Constitution provides that every Zimbabwean citizen has the right to vote in all elections and referenda. We demand that Zimbabwean Diaspora should be allowed to vote in the next general elections wherever they are. Arrangements should be made for the Diaspora population to register to vote wherever they are and cast their votes in the 2018 elections.

Voters roll 
PRC demands that the voters roll must be published on website and be advertised electronically and be given to any Zimbabwean upon request.

Election materials 
PRC demands that all electoral stakeholders, including Political parties, be part of the decision making of the procurement, storage, counting, dispatch and use of all election material which include, ballot papers, ballot boxes, indelible ink, voting pens and al polling station material, at any and all stages of the election.

Independent election material audit 
PRC demands that there be independent election material auditors at each stage that involves election material, procurement, storage, counting, dispatch and use, right up to after the announcement of the election results to ensure that every piece of material particularly the ballot papers, are counted for and their use verified by an independent body.

Election observation ad monitoring 
PRC demands that all the processes of the forthcoming elections be observed by accredited observers and monitors from civic society and regional and international community. The Regional and International bodies are urged to urgently deploy their teams in all parts of the country and particularly in remote areas.

Independent electoral courts 
PRC calls for the creation of wholly independent, impartial accountable and fair electoral courts with at least one such court in each and every province in the country. Their scope, independence and impartiality must be enshrined in the Electoral Act.

Independent mechanism for receiving complaints
PRC calls for the establishment of an independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complains from the members of the public about the misconduct on the part of members of security services and for remedying and harm caused by such misconduct as defines by Section 210 of the Constitution.

Election stakeholders
PRC demands that all interested political parties must be consulted on all issues pertaining to the forthcoming elections as opposed to the current situation where only parties that are represented in Parliament are consulted. The 2018 election will be a new election with new players whose input is crucial if Zimbabwe is to ensure electoral integrity. The guarantee of independence of ZEC depends a great deal on the trust nd credibility it enjoys with all political parties, media and ivil society.

Electoral roadmap 
The issue of when the elections are due and how they will be administered must be outlined as a matter of urgency. The roadmap should include the critical elements such as the reforms outlined above, printing of ballot papers, nominations, campaigning and regulations that will guide these elections.

In conclusion, PRC believes that only a firm political will and commitment to reform, with support from citizens, media, SADC, AU, and UN can enable the country to put in place the political and electoral reforms that can truly provide a level playing field to all and fulfill the criteria of free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe.

# Mother Zimbabwe for President 2018
# My Joice My choice My vote My voice
#Dr JTR Mujuru has my vote 2018

Adv Gift Nyandoro 
PRC Spokesperson

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