By Wisdom Mumera
The refusal by President Robert Mugabe to resign in the face of mass public protests has negatively affected the ongoing voter registration process with civil society organisations calling for an extension of the period.
They said the very elections themselves have to be delayed until the environment is conducive.
Addressing the media on at a press conference Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) Chairperson Andrew Makoni said the rate of registration has dropped as the country grapples with the stalemate between the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and President Mugabe over his resignation.
“Over the last four days, the rate of people registering to vote has gone down over the uncertainty created by the current impasse. This brings us to the issue of the environment in which elections are supposed to be done.
“We can’t proceed when the environment is not conducive. The longer this plays out, the more it will become a concern,” he said.
Makoni added that before elections could be conducted there is a need to institute major reforms, not the piecemeal kind which has been previously brought on.
“There is need to institute adequate reforms before we go for elections. There is no need to rush for elections when the fundamentals are not going lead to free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
Speaking on the same occasion, Election Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhini concurred with Makoni adding that there are fundamental areas that need to be dealt with to create a pathway for credible elections.
“First the laws governing elections should be properly aligned to the constitution, and secondly there should be a conducive environment allowing citizens to make free choices.
“A complete and accurate voter’s roll is also key for credible elections and the revitalisation of the electoral governance institutions,” he said.
On Sunday Mugabe disappointed millions of Zimbabweans who waited in anticipation for his resignation after the country brought pressure to his 37-year rule with a string of demonstrations across the country on Saturday.