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Opposition parties seek postponement of presidential elections, cite bloodbath risk

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By Reason Razao


SOME opposition political outfits have predicted a bloodbath ahead of this year’s harmonised elections, calling for a postponement.

This is in light of the prevailing tension which has already resulted in death and injury of activists.

Of late, political space has been shrinking allegedly owing to efforts by Zanu PF to intimidate opponents ahead of the polls.

Three weeks ago, opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was denied clearance by the police to hold their end of year rallies.

The situation prevailed throughout 2022.

According to official reports, over 2000 cases of political violence, including two deaths were recorded last year alone.

Labour, Economists and African Democrats party (LEAD) president Linda Masarira said this foreshadows a bloody election.

Opposition politician Linda Masarira

“From a pragmatic perspective, I don’t think that we need elections in 2023. The political atmosphere has been tense for a while, promising a very intolerant, violent and bloody election,” Masarira said.

“As 2023 dawns upon us, it is imperative to consider  having a referendum to postpone elections until such a time when we have stability, peace and unity of purpose.”

Masarira said chances were that the coming plebiscite will further destabilise the nation.

“In as much as elections are a constitutional requirement, there is a time we should also be honest with ourselves and accept the reality that elections in Zimbabwe are a peace spoiler,” she said.

People’s Unity Party leader, Herbert Chamuka, said there were a number of issues that needed to be resolved, including electoral reforms.

“Zanu PF has been in power for a long time and they never conceded defeat in an election. Even if we are to go for the 2023 elections and they lose to the opposition, they will find ways to manipulate Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and withhold results until they cook up numbers in their favour,” Chamuka said.

“The proposed electoral reforms have not been ushered in and as long as the playing field is not level, we will have an unfair election despite the people voting en masse for their preferred party.”

According to Chamuka said the issue of ZEC’s exorbitant registration fees in USD should be resolved.

“We have registration fees being charged in USD yet the government claims to be at odds with the owner of the currency. Let ZEC charge those fees in our local currency so that everyone can be allowed to participate in the coming elections without favour.”

While some opposition parties are favouring a government of national unity, others are saying the elections should go ahead.

Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (FEEZ) said Zimbabweans have the right to elect their leader as enshrined in the constitution, and should be allowed to exercise it.

“As parties, we cannot discourage people from voting. More efforts should be made to make people vote.

“The Elections should go on. Part of the reason why we need a change of government is to be able to adequately  address such issues in future.

“Some of the reforms need a change of laws for them to be made and laws can only be changed when in power or when you hold significant seats. So People should vote in their numbers in order to effect change,” said FEEZ deputy spokesperson, Mackenzie Kobiri.