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PDP says Makarau is a ‘political animal’, ZEC boss wrong on Diaspora vote
20/11/2016 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
ZEC boss, Rita Makarau
 
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THE People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson, Rita Makarau of dabbling in partisan politics through claims Zimbabweans based abroad could only cast their votes when they returned home during elections.

Makarau said last week her commission would only allow Diasporans to participate in national polls if they returned to register and vote from within their wards on the voting day. 

But the PDP, led by firebrand constitutional lawyer, Tendai Biti, was quick to caution the Constitutional Court judge was offside, adding that the country’s laws permitted Diasporans to vote from where they were based.

Party secretary for elections Settlement Chikwinya said Makarau’s utterances were “very political and unconstitutional”.

“However, by the virtue of the country’s Constitution, the Diaspora vote is a constitutional right for the Zimbabweans living outside the country,” Chikwinya said.

“Every Zimbabwean who is over 18 years of age has a right to vote in all elections in terms of the Constitution.”

The Zanu PF led government is adamant it will not permit Zimbabwe’s political and economic exiles to vote from outside.

The ruling party says a travelling embargo imposed on some of its senior officials by countries playing host to many Zimbabweans forbids them from visiting the countries to solicit for votes.

But opponents say the Robert Mugabe led government feared an electoral backlash for its destructive economic policies from a restive part of the national population driven outside the country’s borders to seek better economic opportunities.

Meanwhile, PDP said Makarau was not best suited to remain ZEC chief as her roles in state service remained at odds.

Makarau is also secretary of the country’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC), something the party said cast doubt over her impartiality in ensuring the delivery of a clean poll.

“We totally dismiss Makarau’s claims that she does not feel any conflict of interest by holding the two positions,” Chikwinya said.

“The relationship between these two roles is that as the secretary of the JSC, Makarau is responsible for the welfare and the process of appointing of the country’s judges. 

“It is the same judges who are supposed to hear cases of dispute against ZEC where Justice Makarau is the chairperson.”



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PDP feels the 2013 elections which saw Zanu PF restore its yesteryear two thirds majority was a monumental disaster under ZEC.

“Now is she is creating another disaster by not registering voters,” said PDP.

ZEC has put in motion a mapping exercise for the 2018 elections and has cautioned the country’s edgy opposition from interfering with the process.

But PDP sees everything wrong with the process, adding that the exercise was yet another attempt to tilt the 2018 poll in Zanu PF’s favour.

“ZEC does not have the voters’ roll and the electoral body is carrying out a national mapping exercise. It is, therefore, a mystery as to on what basis is ZEC carrying out the mapping exercise.

“We, therefore, believe that Makarau’s remarks prove that she is a political animal. It is therefore no doubt that like what happened in 2013, Makarau has already stolen the 2018 election on behalf of Zanu PF,” said the party.

“As the PDP we reiterate our call for the disbandment of the entire ZEC secretariat, which is staffed by shadowy characters and in its place create a new National Management Body.”

Biti’s party reiterated calls for the formation of a National Transitional Authority that will superintend over electoral reforms and the restoration of a peaceful environment in time for the watershed elections.


 
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