Harare – The elections in Zimbabwe’s northern friend Zambia are a wake up call for Zimbabwe’s opposition parties to prepare for the watershed 2018 elections, an opposition party has said.
Zambia recently had elections in which the ruling party Patriotic Front beat the main opposition UNDP by a narrow margin.
However, the main opposition political party led by Hakainde Hichilema has seen applied at the country’s highest court contesting the election outcome.
The Zimbabweans opposition political party led by the former Finance minister Tendai Biti has said the elections are a sign that Zimbabwe’s opposition parties should be on high alert.
“In light of these challenges in Zambia’s elections, it is clear that unless significant electoral changes are made in Zimbabwe before the 2018 elections, we will witness a similar or a worse fraudulent election in the country, “ said PDP.
The MDC-T offshoot also highlighted that it was concerned by the fact that they were a number of irregularities that were noted which could be the situation in Zimbabwe.
“As PDP we note with serious concerns the number of irregularities that were noted during the election period and counting process,” they said.
The party bemoaned the fact that the regional bodies were mum on the irregularities noted in the elections and instead rushed to endorse the elections.
“We also note with concern that the African Union (AU) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) rushed to endorse the presidential election result without investigating concerns raised by the opposition parties,” said the party.
The party noted the failure by the Zambian elections to meet the basic democratic principles noting the irregularities as saddening.
“The opposition was concerns on how the election had been fraudulently conducted and was marred by serious errors in vote tallying of the presidential vote while over 14 000 casted votes for opposition president, Hakainde Hichilema were found stuffed in a bin.
Some polling stations opened late while ink pads ran out and ink stamps broke down. Polling agents from opposition parties were chased away from polling stations and there was the disenfranchisement of many voters who discovered on the day of voting that their names were not on the voters’ roll while some had been transferred to faraway places and were unable to cast their votes<
The party blasted the Zambian elections for not complying with that country laws citing failuire to address their needs.
“It is therefore clear that the Zambian elections did not adhere to the country’s laws and did not meet the minimum standards and guidelines of SADC and international community for free, fair and credible elections. In the run-up to the Zambia election, the state media had used dirty tactics whilst independent newspapers such as The Post were shutdown,” bemoaned the party.
The party said that though it was two years before the elections nothing was being done by the electoral commission to allow proper elections.
“As PDP we are concerned that with less than two years before the 2018 elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not done any meaningful progress in ensuring it is in full control of the voting process. The biometric voters’ roll (BVR), which requires time and resources to put in place ahead of 2018, is not available,” they added.
The opposition party also highlighted that they was need to adopt the biometric voters role which would allow for transparency in the 2018 polls.
“The BVR will enhance inclusiveness and transparency and bar Zanu PF’s massive rigging techniques. The BVR is, however, not the sum total of a panacea to a credible election.
The Electoral Act, which is key element in ensuring free, fair and uncontested elections and gives autonomy to ZEC, is yet to be harmonised with the country’s Constitution,”
“The PDP foresees a national disaster in the 2018 election where massive electoral theft orchestrated by the Zanu PF regime will take place,” they said.