Civic Groups Want Template For Zim Elections

This is to avoid the electoral violence that left about 500 people dead in 2008.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) petitioned SADC leaders meeting from Monday in the Namibian capital Windhoek to put in place mechanisms to prevent the recurrence of state sponsored violence.

“African leaders must draw concrete plans to prevent state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe’s elections planned for 2011,” said CZC in a petition to be presented to the heads of state and government.

The petition was also published in major Namibian newspapers on Monday.

The coalition also wants SADC, who are the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that brought President Robert Mugabe and his long time foe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai into a government of national unity after the disputed 2008 polls, to address several other issues in Zimbabwe before an election can be held.

Among some of the things that the coalition wanted was the adherence to SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, impartiality of electoral institutions and state security sectors.

Further more the groups want Zimbabweans in the diaspora to be allowed to vote, technical support for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and suspension of Zimbabwe’s right to take up a position on the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security until it demonstrates commitment to upholding democratic values.

Meanwhile an MDC-T legislator has backed calls by Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, that elections in Zimbabwe should not be held next year as the right conditions for free and fair elections did not exist in the country.

MDC-T legislator for Mbizo constituency in Kwekwe urban, Settlement Chikwinya, on Saturday told journalists and local councillors at a meeting organised by media advocacy  organisation, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe), called to discuss the consitution and national healing that elections should not be held next year but should be held in 2013, once a new consitution is in place.

“I totally agree with Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara that there should be no elections in this country until the consitution is in place and conducive conditions have been put in place. The other two parties in the inclusive government are calling for elections in their political campaings but it would not be in the best interests of everyone to have elections next year,”Chikwinya said.

Mutambara has in the past come out openly and has declared that Zimbabwe will not hold elections next year but has said that elections will be held once the term of the inclusive government has expired in 2013.

However President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have indicated that their parties are ready for elections next year.

Chikwinya said while a constitution was being crafted it would be best to have the national healing process take place at the same time.

“National healing is a process that will go along with the constitution making process, you can not avoid marrying the constitution making process with national healing,”he said.

Chikwinya who was among a team of three panellists that included MISAZimbabwe national director, Nhlanhla Ngwenya, and a local church pastor however said one common factor between Zanu (PF) and the two MDC parties was that they were all agreed that the current constitution was not the best document to run the country.

“The three parties are all agreed that the Lancaster consitution is not the best document. For Zanu (PF) it is the best doument to retain power but they argue that it is not a Zimbabwean grown document since it was crafted at the Lancaster conference.

“The two formations of the MDC have clearly stated that the current constitution is not the best document for the country,”Chikwinya said.

Turning to the process of national healing Chikwinya said the party representatives in the National Healing organ were not the best people to lead the process at the moment.

“When the three were appointed by their parties last year they were the best people but as things stand at the moment the three are not the best people to be leading that organ. John Nkomo is now a Deputy President while Sekai Holland is only a minister and Gibson Sibanda has no constituency.He is not a senator, he is not a House of Assembly member and he is not a government minister and under the circumstances the person who has more power in that organ is Nkomo and his decision will prevail because he is a deputy president,”Chikwinya said.

He said there was a need for the parties in the inclusive government to second people who are in the same level if the organ is to do any meaningful work.