THE opposition MDC-T party has challenged president Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately implement reforms that will help facilitate credible elections next year’s elections.
Party spokesman Obert Gutu said this would be in line with Mnangagwa’s Friday swearing-in pledge to uphold the pillars of democracy.
Mnangagwa took over from former President Robert Mugabe last week and insisted that elections would go ahead next year as scheduled.
“Elections in Zimbabwe have been routinely rigged and manipulated in favour of the ruling party,” said Gutu in a statement Friday.
“Zanu PF has developed a notorious record of violence, thuggery and intimidation; particularly during electioneering times.”
According to Gutu, traditional leaders and security forces must be apolitical to ensure the electorate can freely elect leaders of their choice.
In addition, political parties contesting the ballot must enjoy equal coverage on the national broadcaster.
“What we really expect is that next year’s elections should be free and fair and that they should produce a credible and legitimate result that is free from contestation,” he said.
On the human rights front, Gutu said the Mnangagwa government must provide answers on the fate of pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara who was abducted over two years ago.
The administration should also restore the liberty of political prisoners among the MDC-T trio convicted of killing a police officer.
“Perpetrators of politically – motived crimes that were committed over the years, particularly the heinous murders and other sordid acts of criminality that were committed during the violent Presidential election run-off of June 2008, should also be brought to book.
“It is only when this happens that we will begin to believe and accept that President Mnangagwa was indeed genuine when he talked about peace and stability of the nation in his inauguration speech.”
To facilitate improvements in the economy, Gutu said high level corruption involving cabinet ministers and sometimes cutting across the political divide must be dealt with.
“These social miscreants and political wheeler dealers should be promptly brought to book if President Mnangagwa’s call for the fight against corruption is to be taken seriously,” he said.
Mnangagwa’s inauguration speech covered critical issues and could turn around the country if well-meant and implemented wholesomely, Gutu said.
The opposition faces an uphill task to win an election against a Zanu PF which has replaced an ageing 93-year-old Robert Mugabe.
Source: New Zimbabwe