By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, August 30, 2016 – ASPIRING Norton MP and former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chair, Temba Mliswa has urged opposition political parties to abandon their current protests and start refocussing their energies towards encouraging their followers to register for the forthcoming 2018 elections.
Zimbabwe’s opposition parties have come together under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) in efforts to pressure the current Zanu PF led government to implement electoral reforms.
But Mliswa told journalists in Harare on Tuesday the opposition was better off turning their anger into votes.
“The anger and failure by the Mugabe government must turn into the voters,” Mliswa said.
“Some of these protesters that are coming into the elections, are they registers?” said the former Hurungwe West MP.
Mliswa said the best way the opposition can force electoral reforms was through participation as opposed to a total boycott.
“Opposition parties would do well to encourage increased voter registration as opposed to boycotting elections. This cultivates a habit of voter apathy that is bound to work against them come 2018.
“Zanu PF are continuously registering new voters who, whether forcibly or not, participate in elections thereby swinging votes in their favour.”
Mliswa described the boycotting of the electoral processes as “digging graves” for the opposition.
“Political parties are digging their graves for themselves by not participating in elections,” he said.
“Take part in those elections, the dynamics of politics have changed and political parties that do not contest in elections cannot fully understand or appreciate the magnitude of participating in an election fraught with irregularities which is why there is need to push for electoral reforms.”
Mliswa equated the electoral system to a football tournament in which they was need to test all the avenues available until the parties get to the ‘final’, which is the 2018 elections.
“As in a game of football, you cannot be in the final before you have gone through qualifiers, knockouts and semi-final stages and therefore it would be folly of us to think that come 2018, things will have miraculously changed without testing the system along the way,” he said
Mliswa is running for the Norton by-election which was rendered vacant through the expulsion of Chris Mutsvangwa for indiscipline by Zanu PF.
His re-election bid received a major boost past few week when war veterans vowed support for him.