‘ZEC not required to vet political parties’
POLITICAL parties in Zimbabwe are not required to register and it is not the duty of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to vet bogus and genuine parties, the commission’s chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has said.
She said it was not the brief of the commission to reject political parties wanting to participate in the country’s electoral processes.
Her remarks followed a meeting convened by the commission in Harare yesterday with all the country’s political parties.
After the meeting, political parties meeting under the banner of the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) cried foul claiming that some of the parties at the meeting were bogus.
This was after some issues were subjected to a voting process during the meeting and NERA affiliates were outsmarted on all issues by other parties.
NERA members later called for a press conference where they claimed that some of the political parties were in fact members of the Central Intelligence Organisation planted by ZEC to counter them.
Asked to comment on the allegations by NERA, Justice Makarau said: “There is no way we can know as ZEC that this is a bogus political party or not, because there is no registration of political parties in Zimbabwe.
“If they (NERA) know them, they should go to those people and tell them that they are bogus.”
Some of the parties that NERA took issue with include the Zimbabwe Organised Open Political Party and Zimbabwe National Congress.
Mr Joseph Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe claimed that the meeting was also attended by a political party called OK Mart and another one called Vanhu although these were not appearing on the list of parties seen by our Harare Bureau.
However, there was a party which used the name MAAT among other parties like Good People’s Movement and Zimbabwe People’s Party.
Justice Makarau described the meeting as a fruitful engagement.
She said it was agreed that the electoral body should convene such meetings monthly.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, NERA member Ms Marcellina Chikasha of the African Democratic Party raised a raft of complaints against ZEC including security checks.
She also complained about the short time for the invitation of the meeting and that ZEC was not engaging them sincerely.
Ms Chikasha also said they had an issue with ZEC chairing the meeting.
She added: “We also noticed that there were lot of parties in that meeting that we have never heard about before, and we believe these were planted CIO operatives masquerading as political parties. Because of the system that was being used by the chair of putting everything to vote, we found that we were outnumbered and out-voted.”
Asked if they had any evidence to prove that some of the parties were bogus, ZimPF elder Mr Didymus Mutasa said:
“Have you written anything about these political parties? To us, they do not exist and you are arguing as if you know that they are bogus.”
Mr Ngarivhume chipped in saying these political parties (NERA) were against other opposition parties, thus they labelled them bogus.
Justice Makarau said, “It was a good meeting and we agreed to meet every month. We were coming to a position after debate and nothing was imposed by ZEC.”
Taking their traditional confrontational route, NERA affiliates said they would push for the so-called electoral reforms through any means including street protests.
MDC-T secretary general Mr Douglas Mwonzora said: “We are going ahead with the demonstration (on Saturday) with or without their blessing. We do not need their permission .We have the law in our favour.”
Mr John Arnold Bredenkamp