Chamisa says no reforms no polls, ready to die for free and fair elections

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THE MDC-T leadership is prepared to die than have Zimbabweans go into another sham election like what happened in 2013 when Zanu PF party then led by deposed Robert Mugabe stole the people’s victory, Nelson Chamisa said Thursday.

Addressing journalists in Harare, Chamisa said there will never be an election before the electoral field was levelled to ensure free and fair plebiscite.

“There will be no delaying of an election. There will be reforms. It is either reforms or there will be no election. That is our position and we are prepared to surrender ourselves before we surrender our victory,” he said.

“This thing of nichodemusly printing ballot papers through Nikuv or any other group, Chinese, Israeli or any other, we will not accept. And when we say that we will not accept it doesn’t mean that we will boycott an election, we will simply make sure that there is no election without reforms,” he added.

Chamisa said the MDC-T had met with United Nations representatives and the SADC early warning observation council with whom they raised their issues regarding the need for electoral reforms.

He said while Zimbabweans were clear that they wanted a free election, the government did not want the same and was paying lip service, adding that they were aware that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was saying things that he was not prepared to execute.

The MDC-T leader, who took over from Morgan Tsvangirai under controversial circumstances, said they would not accept any process before a BVR audit was carried out, saying they wanted to make sure that there was an agreement on who was printing the ballot papers for the elections expected in July or August.

“So there will never be an election in Zimbabwe without free and fair conditions. And let this message sink in the ears of Mr. Mnangagwa and any of his supporters that we are not going to have business as usual. They cheated us in 2013 but we will not allow them to repeat a 2013 in 2018 because this is 2018; it’s a turning point, this is a momentous year.

“People want change, people want to end the problems we are having in the health sector. We want these issues to be resolved and to resolve them we need leadership, we need governance, we need money. Money is in the country only that it is hidden by a few who are in government and that is what we want to resolve,” he said.

Zimbabwe has had disputed elections since the formation of the MDC in 1999, with the country’s biggest opposition party claiming the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was rigging the polls in favour of Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

Mugabe was forced into a Government of National Unity with the late Tsvangirai in 2009 after he lost to the veteran opposition leader in the first round of the presidential election in 2008.

Tsvangirai, whose winning margin was not enough for him to form a government, boycotted a presidential run-off citing violence against his supporters, leaving Mugabe to do a one man race.