Tsvangirai, opposition in deal to press for poll reforms

Staff Reporter

Morgan Tsvangirai

FORMER prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai sealed an agreement Wednesday with nine other opposition political parties to press government for electoral reforms.

The event was however boycotted by former colleagues Tendai Biti, Elton Mangoma and Lovemore Madhuku who now lead rival political parties.

Tsvangirai and his allies signed the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) documents at the Anglican Cathedral in central Harare.

“The document speaks to the electoral reforms that the nine political parties would like to see implemented to enable free and fair elections in the future,” Gutu told the Voice of America (VOA).

“I can also confirm that (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed the NERA document.”

According to Gutu, other opposition parties which agreed the deal include MDC-led by Welshman Ncube, Zanu-Ndonga, Transform Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe United For Democracy, African Democratic Party, African Democratic Party and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe.

But former finance minister Tendai Biti as well as ex-energy minister Elton Mangoma and Mdhuku’s NCA party were not involved.

Not a problem, said Gutu.

“There is really no major problem here,” he told VOA.

“What I see is that this is the beginning of what I think are very exciting things to come.”

Following President Robert Mugabe’s triumph in the 2013 elections, the main opposition parties have boycotted subsequent polls, demanding reforms.

They accuse Mugabe and his Zanu PF party of serial cheating and vowed not to participate in futures polls until reforms are implemented to make the contests fairer.

Zanu PF rejects the allegations with vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa saying there was no need for electoral reforms, adding none would be implemented.

"Zanu PF will not be moved by the reform mantra but will instead go ahead with the elections and will continue to rule forever," Mnangagwa told a campaign rally earlier this year.

The next general are due in 2018 and the MDC-T is confident that the government will give in to pressure for reforms before the vote.

Gutu said, as a sign they were making progress, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has called all political parties to a meeting on Friday.

“ZEC is going to hold a stakeholders consultative meeting on the 2016-2020 strategic plan formulation and we the MDC-T have been invited.

“Again, from the document I have with me here, all the political parties in this country have also been invited, including Zanu PF,” he said.

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