Featured Guest Writer — 11 April 2013

HARARE – Analysts and politicians have thrown their weight behind SADC calls for security sector re-alignment ahead of elections in line with provisions of the Global Political Agreement. South African President Jacob Zuma and other regional leaders are pushing for security sector reforms ahead of the elections because of the partisan nature of the armed forces MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told the media that security sector re-alignment was “in black and white in the Global Political Agreement and will be addressed before elections despite desperate resistance from service chiefs and their allies”. “It would be folly for anyone to believe that security sector reforms are not in the GPA. Though there is some resistance to security sector re-alignment now, as soon as the new constitution comes into effect the sector will be whipped into line as provided for under Chapter 11,” said Mwonzora. The MDC led by Welshman Ncube said security sector reform was part of a raft of important reforms. Spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said: “A 100 metre race must be of the same distance to all participants.” Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa told reporters on 3 April 3 that: “Zimbabwe Defence Forces have nothing new to learn about human rights since the subject is already part of the army training syllabus.” He accused the MDCs of wanting to remove current commanders from office and replace them with those willing to play to the tune of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his allies. SADC says it is keeping a close eye on Zimbabwe electoral developments. Meanwhile, the party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai MDC has said political activities being carried out by desperate Zanu PF members in rural areas threaten the holding of free and fair elections if allowed to continue a report released this week reveals. According to the report on the observed threats that might muddle the holding of credible, free and fair elections, the political, social and economic challenges facing Zimbabwe will not be solved if the threats and intimidation continue. “Rural folks under threat of punishment are forced to hold Zanu PF cards and to attend continuous meetings termed; “kusimbisana meetings”, the report notes. “The Kusimbisana meetings are held under the leadership of the Zanu PF ward, district and provincial leadership. Punishment on those who refuse to comply include beatings, withdrawal of rights to land allocated, threats of abduction and forced disappearance,” said the report. Sensing heavy defeat at the hands of the MDC, the report says that those who further interests of the beleaguered Zanu PF will not be arrested and if arrested will not be punished and will in fact be rewarded. “With specific reference to the coming elections, it is said that the holding of elections at ward level combined with the display procedure of the marked ballot paper and the usage of cellphones in the voting area will make it possible to identify how particular persons have voted,” the report said. “Forcing people to attend political meetings against their wish is a gross violation of their human rights. This is violence and we cannot continue to talk only of physical violence,” the report says. Stung by a flight of voters because of the MDC’s popularity and because of its corruption and looting of the country’s resources, Zanu PF is now using threats and State machinery to win votes but this has not helped as people are determined to vote Zanu PF out in the coming harmonised elections. Last weekend, the MDC launched its door to door campaign in Harare where it is targeting to register one million voters where the MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti said the only game in town was to take Tsvangirai to the State House. “There is only one show in town and that is to take President Tsvangirai to the State House,” said Hon. Biti. Addressing thousands of party supporters during the launch, Nelson Chamisa, the national organising secretary said the MDC would discipline any member who is implicated in any form of violence. “We must go in every household, street by street and door-to-door talking to people, writing down details. We want to know who is ours and those who will be hostile, write their names down so that we pray for them to see the light,” said Chamisa. “We will give you fliers with party information, we will give you forms for people to fill in and we also provide you with unemployment forms where those who are not employed will fill in because we want to know how many people need jobs,” he said.

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