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Citizens demand referendums, power to recall poorly performing MPs, Councillors

By Staff Reporter

Citizens Manifesto a local movement advocating for increased participation of citizens in the country’s political processes has demanded the amendment of the constitution to give people the power to call for a referendum or
recall underperforming Members of Parliament and Councilors anytime between general elections.

Speaking to journalists at a familiarisation meeting, Citizens Manifesto convener Briggs Bomba said the electorate was now tired of politicians who continuously dupe them by
promising but never living up to their pledges.

“How many times has the UK gone for elections? How many times has Israel and other developed countries held referendums?

“It is time we stand up and we must demand referendums whenever we feel the country is taking a course we do not agree with. There is no reason to wait for five years to go for an election when we are going the wrong way,” said
Bomba.

“We need to have as many elections as possible, if it means an election every week, every month, every six months then so be it.

“The electorate is tired of politicians who come with politicians who come with promises they never keep to only dupe the electorate.”

Bomba said efforts to promote citizen participation in politics needed to be supported especially by the media.

Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Tawanda Chimhini said the proposal was sensible.

He argued that if the provision was applicable to political parties then citizens too should have the same right.

“I think the argument that citizens must in a sense have recalling power when they feel their representatives are not doing enough is sensible, unfortunately, it is not provided for in the constitution.

“The sad thing is that it is reserved for political parties,” said Chimhini.

“It is justifiable for that provision to be extended to citizens too.”

Parliamentarians have at times been accused of promising a lot during campaigns that precede elections before neglecting their supporters after winning the ticket to represent them.

Some councillors have also been fingered in gross mismanagement of public funds and other corrupt practices over the years.

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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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