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Chigumba to meet MDC Alliance over reforms

By Daniel Chigundu

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba is reported to have called MDC Alliance for a meeting tomorrow (Thursday 12 July) over their demands for electoral reforms.

MDC Alliance is demanding access to the full voters roll and openness on the procurement, design, printing and storage of ballot papers to be used for the 2018 general elections scheduled for 30 July.

During her routine Monday media brief, Justice Chigumba indicated that ZEC has failed to build consensus over the elections and was thinking of dumping it but the door for discussion would still be open.

Addressing party supporters on the sidelines of a demonstration and after handing their petition at ZEC offices, MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti said Chigumba has invited them for a meeting.

“It’s unfortunate that when we went in there with our petition, Justice Chigumba was not there, but she has asked us to come back tomorrow for a meeting with her.

“So we are coming tomorrow but we have left the petition which has a list of our demands which we want to be addressed before we go for elections.

“And these demands we are ready to die for them and this time we will not allow this election to be stolen from us,” he said.

The 2018 general elections have been dubbed as the “this is it” for the opposition parties especially MDC which has been trying since 2000.

The opposition, on the contrary, is of the view that they have been winning the previous elections but they have been their victories through various means.

In 2008 MDC-T came close to winning the Presidential elections but their lead candidate the late Morgan Tsvangirai though he had more votes than his main rival Robert Mugabe, he failed to get the required 50 per cent plus one vote.

Speaking after the demonstration, MDC Alliance Presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa said if nothing positive comes out of the meeting with Chigumba, demonstrations will continue until ZEC concedes.

“This is the last demonstration were we go back home, I tell if nothing comes out of negotiations then we engage the next level, which is gear number two, now gear number two is undesirable because it’s a red gear.

“The next level of demonstrations are those where we don’t go back home but we go and occupy ZEC until our demands are met. This is not a Zanu primary election, it’s a national election and we must agree on its processes.

“Chigumba is saying our demands are not provided for in the law, but I am also a lawyer, if something is not provided for in the law it does not mean it’s prohibited so I don’t know what law she is talking about.

“We are not afraid to lose anything for this cause because we have already lost everything as a country,” he said.

MDC Alliance is on record saying if their demands are not met they will not participate and also they ensure the election will take place.

It remains to be seen if ZEC will concede as one of its commissioner Qhubani Moyo announced that they have finished printing ballot papers.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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