By Reason Razao
OPPOSITION Peoples Unity Party (PUP) has threatened to boycott 2023 elections citing lack of reforms amid heightened political intolerance.
PUP becomes the second opposition party to hint at snubbing next year’s polls barely days after Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader, Nelson Chamisa said the same.
According to PUP leader, Herbert Chamuka, Zimbabwe’s electoral laws were still tilted in the favour of ruling party Zanu PF making it difficult for opposition movements to win plebiscites.
Chamuka condemned Zanu PF’s grip on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and law enforcement agencies.
“Proposed electoral reforms have not been implemented, Zanu PF still controls ZEC, police, the army and the courts,” he said.
“If we go for elections next year, we will inevitably be in another disputed election because the current environment is favouring Zanu PF,” said the PUP leader.
ZEC is failing to show any effort to engage political parties, according to Chamuka, and this will impact on the outcome of elections as stakeholders’ input was being ignored.
“We believe even the printing of the ballot papers should not be done without the approval of the competing parties and this along with some of our demands that have not yet been met demonstrates how ZEC is still partisan.”
Zimbabwe’s economy is yet to fully recover from the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and according to Chamuka, efforts should be channelled to resuscitate the livelihood before embarking on a costly election.
“Right now the the aim should be to unite and come to an amicable arrangement that allows both the opposition and the government to work together and uplift the lives of Zimbabweans.
“The country is not yet ready for a plebiscite given the current prevailing economic turmoil among other challenges, and whatever the result may be, the incoming government will face challenges which may result in another difficult five years for Zimbabwe,” added the PUP leader.
According to media reports, Chamisa said his party was considering snubbing upcoming elections after ZEC failed to usher in new regulations that he expects would level the political playing field.