Samuel Kadungure Senior Reporter
POLITICAL parties in Manicaland are gearing up for the July 30 harmonised elections following the proclamation of the date and signing of the Electoral Amendment Act into law by President Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa on Wednesday proclaimed July 30 as the date for Presidential, legislative and council elections and in the event that the outcome is not decisive, a Presidential run-off will be held on September 8, 2018.
The proclamation was made in terms of Section 144 (1) that empowers the President to fix election dates. Prior to the proclamation, the President had signed the Electoral Amendment Act into law to bring legal effect to the Statutory Instrument on the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) carried out by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and create a new code of conduct for political parties, candidates and other stakeholders in elections.
The notice was published on Monday under General Notice 307A/2018 of the Extraordinary Government Gazette to enable ZEC to use BVR for the creation of a new voters’ roll.
The election is expected to pit the ruling Zanu-PF fronted by President Mnangagwa, MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa, Rainbow Coalition of Zimbabwe led by Dr Joice Mujuru, Coalition of Democrats (Code) led by Mr Elton Mangoma, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) led by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Build Zimbabwe Alliance led by Dr Noah Manyika, National Patriotic Front (NPF) led by Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri and ZIPP led by Dr Blessing Kasiyamhuru, among other parties which have welcomed the date for the Presidential, legislative, and council election.
Zanu-PF chairman Cde Mike Madiro said they were ready to claim all the 26 seats in the province.
“Zanu-PF Manicaland is more than ready given that the primary elections are behind us and all cadres who participated have closed ranks. We are going to achieve a resounding victory for President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF. There is no doubt about that because the people of Manicaland have come of age and know what they want. Manicaland was the brand of the liberation struggle and the people know what is best for the country,” said Cde Madiro, adding that the elections should be devoid of violence.
Cde Madiro said Zanu-PF will clean up the country’s rampant corruption, invest in education, healthcare, in the country’s rickety infrastructure and court billions of dollars in Foreign Direct Investment. He said the party will support its candidates with required resources.
MDC-T provincial chairman Mr David Chimhini said as the general elections loom in July, his party was gearing up to target the tens of thousands of eligible voters in the 17 constituencies the party will field candidates.
Mr Chimhini said Chipinge Central, Chimanimani East and West, Headlands, Buhera North, Mutare North, Mutasa South, Musikavanhu and Nyanga South were preserved for MDC Alliance partners. He said MDC-T will this weekend finalise primary elections in Dangamvura-Chikanga, Mutare Central, Buhera South and Makoni West.
“We have always been prepared for the elections and we are at the moment seized with internal housekeeping issues in terms of a few outstanding primary elections.
“We also have constituencies in the province preserved for the alliance partners and see if they have finalised with their candidates so that we can engage our supporters and mobilise. Be rest assured that the alliance will brew a surprise,” said Mr Chimhini.
Prof Madhuku said his party will field candidates in all the 210 constituencies.
“We will have candidates representing the NCA in all the 210 constituencies. Our biggest worry is whether ZEC can deliver a credible election. We have no problem with the proclamation as it was made within the confines of the law. The problem is with those charged with running the election. ZEC should provide all parties with the provisional voters’ roll,” said Prof Madhuku.
Mr Mangoma said Code will contest the polls under protest. “We are going to contest an election that is not free and fair because the reforms to do with the procurement of ballot papers and the ink have not been done. The voters’ roll is not yet out, meaning we are calling for an election where we do not know who the voters are.
“We have also not agreed on the election polling officers and how they will be selected, but we are going to fight. We have the numbers across the country,” said Mr Mangoma.
The new electoral law empowers ZEC to be the custodian of voters’ rolls for each polling station area in printed and electronic form and mainstream gender into electoral processes.
It also empowers ZEC to carry out voter education in an adequate, accurate and unbiased and gender-sensitive manner.
The code prohibits political parties and their candidates from publishing false and defamatory allegations against a rival party or its candidates, discriminate on the grounds of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class or religion and the use of hateful language and violence.
Political parties and their candidates are also expected to publicise widely the code to their supporters and their obligation to comply with its terms.