Reforms ahead of elections critical- Chipinge residents- cancel

Reforms ahead of elections critical- Chipinge residents

Residents of Chimbengende in Chipinge have demanded that the inclusive government put in place key legislative and institutional reforms which address, among other issues, political violence and intimidation, public media bias, transitional justice and national healing, partisan nature of the security sector and the voting process (with regard to registration procedures and assisting of the illiterate and the differently- abled), ahead of any elections.

 This was said during a community meeting held on the 9th of May 2011 by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the Platform for Youth Development in the area and attended by 83 people, 39 men and 44 women.

'It is good to have elections but no one is looking forward to them because of the volatile political environment'

Participants noted that if elections are held without any changes to the political environment, the outcome would not reflect the will of the people. They further highlighted that their fear arises from memories of what happened in 2008. One participant stated that he was forced to live in a nearby mountain called 'Rumwe' due to constant threats on his life by ZANU PF youths and as such he remains highly sceptical of elections while an elderly woman said that she is afraid to participate in elections as she was nearly ex- communicated from her village in 2008 due to her political beliefs.

Participants also raised the following issues regarding the constitution and possible elections;

1.             There is need for communities to be aware of the contents of the constitution before the referendum

2.             Access to information is important and as such the public media should be politically neutral particularly during elections

3.             Transitional justice should be prioritised ahead of elections

4.             Citizens should be allowed to vote using their national identity documents

5.             Intimidation should stop as this deters people from voting

6.             The military and police officers should receive training on their roles, responsibilities and relationships with citizens

7.             The Global Political Agreement should be implemented in full

8.             SADC should assist in running elections

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