Opposition youths in ZEC protest, demand reforms at elections agency

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By Audience Mutema 

OPPOSITION youths staged a protest in Harare this Tuesday, demanding reforms at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to “reduce vote rigging and ensure the agency announces authentic election results”.

The youths belong to the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), a grouping of some 22 opposition parties established to push for reforms ahead of the disputed July 30 elections.

The main MDC Alliance opposition group has refused to accept the results of the elections, accusing ZEC of fudging the numbers in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

A challenge against the poll outcome was dismissed by the Constitutional Court.

Opposition parties claim security service personnel run the ZEC secretariat, helping rig elections for Zanu PF.

“We demand the demilitarization of ZEC; we also need a competent ZEC secretariat,” said NERA youth national chairperson Tawanda Kalonga during Tuesday’s protest.

“Retired soldiers should not be part of the election process; they should go and rest and practice farming.”

The youths insisted that traditional chiefs should not be engaged in partisan politics.

“Chiefs are not supposed to campaign for any party or mobilise people to vote for certain party. The government is using the chiefs and later paying them with cars,” said Kalonga.

Regarding the August 1 post-election violence which left six people day, the NERA youth chair said; “Innocent died after another demonstration by MDC- Alliance supporters rejecting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory.

“We do not support such a move by the government. The constitution states that it is the citizen’s right to demonstrate freely.”