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Makoni's former ally rules out free, fair elections in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
15 Feb 2018 at 06:13hrs | Views
FORMER Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) senior official and now leader of the Democratic Opposition Party (DOP), Harry Peter Wilson, has ruled out holding of credible, free and fair elections, adding that his party will, however, not boycott the polls.

Wilson is DOP presidential candidate.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared that elections will be held by July, and promised the polls will be free and fair. He has gone further to say government will even invite election observers from the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) to ensure the credibility of the polls.

Former President Robert Mugabe barred the EU and the West from observing the country's polls, describing them as enemies of the State after they imposed sanctions on him over gross human rights abuses.

Wilson, however, cast doubt on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission conducting free and fair elections citing an uneven playing field.

"History has proven that there can never be a smooth, fairly flat and even playing field where a ruling party is contesting an opposition with no State power at its disposal. I still strongly believe it is unlikely that Zimbabwe's current political system will be reformed in time to ensure the election is free and fair," Wilson told journalists in Bulawayo yesterday.

"Zanu-PF manipulated the electoral process in 2000, 2002, 2008 and 2013 and we feel it will be no different this year. The elections are also threatened by political violence, abuse of the State resources by the ruling party and vote-buying."

Opposition parties and independent election monitoring groups have always questioned the country's election results, citing several electoral irregularities such as vote-buying and violence, among others.

Mnangagwa early this week told Zimbabweans based in neighbouring Botswana that he would step down if he lost the elections.

"There has been no reform that would facilitate a credible election, and with the expulsion of international observers over the past 37 years, it is imperative that the UN and EU must be invited to observe the presidential election. We urge Mnangagwa to ensure we have free, fair and credible elections and a verified voters' roll," said Wilson, whose party is contesting parliamentary seats countrywide.

Source - newsday