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Matemadanda in major climbdown, calls for dialogue

15 Sep 2020 at 06:18hrs | Views
IN an unprecedented development, the Defence deputy minister and Zanu-PF national commissar Victor Matemadanda has been forced to make a major climbdown from a threat that Zanu-PF would use any means to rule the country even if it lost elections.

On December 15, 2019, the media carried a story where it quoted Matemadanda telling the delegates to Zanu-PF's 18th national conference held at Goromonzi that same month that the ruling party liberated this country and would fight to defend that course by any means necessary.

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) initially approached the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) demanding that the utterances by Matemadanda be investigated for the purposes of redress by the electoral body in terms of its mandate as provided for in Zimbabwe's electoral laws and the Constitution.

Ironically, Zec, which has been accused of being partisan, initially refused to investigate the matter despite numerous follow ups by the ERC.

Instead Zec referred the matter to the police without giving any reference number of the report made to the police. This forced the electoral watchdog to approach the courts for judicial redress in a case filed against Matemadanda and Zec at the Harare High Court in early August 2020.

The under pressure Matemadanda, who initially ignored a letter of demand from ERC's lawyers demanding a retraction, sought to play down his utterances.

Zimbabwe has had a history of disputed elections with the opposition and international community accusing Zanu-PF of engaging in electoral violence to win elections.

Recently, the party dismissed claims by the international community that serious human rights violations were being committed by the government in Harare following a series of abductions, torture and arrests of human rights and opposition political activists like Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, Netsai Marova and Tawanda Muchehiwa, among others.

ERC has welcomed the position taken by Matemadanda and considers the litigation as a success for democracy in Zimbabwe.


Source - newsday
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