Zimbabwe Opposition political parties, under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), have lined up about 210 protests this Saturday to push for electoral reforms, claiming their meeting with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday had failed to discuss the matter and had ended in a deadlock after the process was hijacked by “rented bogus political groupings”.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Nera’s head of legal affairs and MDC-T secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora, said the weekend protests would go on with or without police clearance.
“We are going ahead with the demonstrations, with or without their (police) blessing,” he said.
“We don’t need their permission. We have the law in our favour. We are not about to negotiate the Constitution with (President Robert) Mugabe because the Constitution was negotiated in 2013 and Mugabe signed it. We are enforcing that which he signed, we are sure we are right.”
Mwonzora said Nera was riding on an August 25 High Court order, which granted them the greenlight to protest before police descended on them.
He said Nera would not be intimidated by Mugabe’s threats to deal vindictively with protesters, saying until change in the electoral system was achieved, they would continue to be on the streets.
Transform Zimbabwe president, Jacob Ngarivhume, said they had decided to move the protest to Saturday instead of Friday to give activists and workers an opportunity to be part of the demonstrations in their respective constituencies.
“As Nera, we are fully aware that no change will come on a silver platter, we are employing all means at our disposal — judicial, extrajudicial — and we will be in the streets demonstrating,” he said.
“For your own information, this Saturday, we have organised 210 demonstrations around the country to force Zec to accept the reforms.
“We are going to continue fighting, we are going to demonstrate because that is the language they understand.”
Ngarivhume said Nera was not pleased with the outcome of its meeting with Zec, saying there were a lot of unknown political parties planted to dilute the opposition, with some going by suspicious names like OK Mart and Vangu, and others that do not exist.
He said the inclusion of these unknown political parties showed that Zec rigged the process because the “fake and dubious” parties had been planted to vote against Nera’s position.
“We have decided to push the protest to Saturday because it will be a nationwide thing. We want people to demonstrate in their respective constituencies. If you stay in Kuwadzana, you should demonstrate in Kuwadzana,” Ngarivhume said.
Marcellina Chikasha, leader of the African Democratic Party, said Nera attended the meeting to show that it was committed to engaging and would continue to engage Zec until electoral reforms have been implemented to level the political playing field ahead of the 2018 crunch polls.
Morgen Komichi, MDC-T vice-chairperson and Nera’s head of operations, claimed Zec chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau reported that more than 30 parties were present and another 30 had failed to attend, making the number of opposition political parties in the country more than 60.