By Daniel Chigundu
OPPOSITION party Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) says it is going to engage SADC to intervene in the controversy that has surrounded the acquiring of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits.
Zimbabwe is for the first time going to used BVR to come up with a new voter’s roll to be used in the impending 2018 general elections.
Initially, UNDP had pledged to assist the broke government in acquiring the kits and had even handled the tendering processes and procedure using its system in Copenhagen before the government made a dramatic somersault.
Various opposition parties view this development with suspicion and are alleging that government wants to award the tender to a diversified Israel company popularly known as NIKUV, which stands accused of helping Zanu PF rig the 2013 general elections.
In a statement, TZ said SADC is the most acknowledged authority in the region and are going to take their petition there first before they engage other bodies.
“As citizens, we are aware that SADC is the recognized governing authority in the Southern African region where Zimbabwe is located and is the body we required to appeal to first. We the citizens of Zimbabwe are also aware that SADC has at times blocked international action to hold Zanu PF government accountable which has made it impossible of bodies like the United Nations to act.
“We are therefore going to follow the necessary protocol hierarchy with the hope and good faith that SADC will respect and honour their own guidelines. Transform Zimbabwe is taking the responsibility of delivering this petition to SADC. We are urging all citizens to be engaged in the electoral process, issues and actions taken as this will determine our Future.
“We urge citizens to sign the petition. Circulation has already begun on the ground. We are also urging Citizens to join March 22nd demonstrations. This is not the time to sit at home, this is the time to act. This is the time to exhaust every avenue we have to fight for free and fair elections, the future is not for a few, it’s for all of us; therefore collective action is the only way,” TZ said.
Opposition parties in the country are currently demanding electoral reforms under the banner of National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) and their efforts have not yielded much success as ZEC has continued to dig in.
People’s Democratic Party president Tendai Biti is on record arguing that opposition parties have not pushed with enough effort to match the current resistance.
Transform Zimbabwe is of the view that the Zanu PF led government has presided over a repressive system which has consistently failed to preside over free and fair polls, arguing that every election year has been riddled with violence and numerous unfair electoral practices.
The opposition party also said failure by Zimbabwe government to align the constitution with others laws and delays in instituting the SADC electoral principles they agreed to makes it extremely difficult to have free and fair elections in the country.
The Jacob Ngarivhume led party said SADC must force the Zimbabwe to implement the required electoral reforms that include adequately funding ZEC and ensure that ZEC respects the original agreement with UNDP to purchase the BVR kits.