Thursday, 25 April 2013

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s statement on free and fair elections

Harvest House, Harare, 25 April 2013
No elections without reforms

Good afternoon members of the press corps and fellow citizens.

Following the successful Yes vote for a new Constitution and subsequent processes to be undertaken for the adoption of the new charter, there has been debate on the context, substance and character of the next election and when it will be held.
At Principals’ level, we have since tasked the minister of Justice and the Minister of Constitutional Affairs with consulting all the relevant political parties as they draft the legal and the political roadmap before submitting it to us as principals for the determination of the election date.

We are also alive to the fact that SADC and the AU, as guarantors of the GPA, are major stakeholders in determining the conditions and framework of a free and fair election and they will definitely be continuously consulted.

But for us in the party of excellence, the people’s party, the MDC, it is clear that there are many issues that need to be addressed if we are to have a plebiscite that is free, fair and credible as envisaged under the GPA and expected by the people of Zimbabwe, our brothers and sisters in SADC and the AU.

While the process of the roadmap is being dealt with, there are many software and hardware issues we have to address if we are to hold a credible election, key among them the many reforms that we have agreed on as political parties and as Principals but remain unimplemented.

As a party of excellence, we have outlined and stated the key minimum conditions for the holding of a credible, free and fair election, namely:

· Guaranteeing the security of the vote, the security of the voter and the security of the outcome of the vote

-All Zimbabweans must vote in peace without intimidation, victimization, violence or being forced to attend a political meeting of this or that party. No “bases” and vigilante groups in our villages, suburbs or communities. The people’s will must be respected and guaranteed.

· Undertaking of a ward-based nationwide voter education, registration and inspection by ZEC for a minimum of two months.

-All Zimbabweans including the so-called aliens must be able to register and inspect the voters roll to ensure their names are on the roll.

All political players and citizens must have access to the voters roll in searchable and auditable form.

The residence qualification must not be limited but include a personal affidavit validating a place of residence. Zimbabweans must know the importance of voting for a party of their choice.

· Addressing issue of the ZEC secretariat to ensure impartiality, credibility and legitimacy in light of the 2008 electoral experience

-The ZEC secretariat must not include partisan elements and individuals who have displayed overt partisan bias and inclinations. The secretariat must be apolitical, professional and above all inspire confidence in the voting public.

· Media Reforms

The ZBC and all publicly funded media must be impartial and objective in covering all political players and the public. There must be no hate speech, no hate language and no malicious and partisan reporting. There must be fair and objective coverage for all who wish to be covered.
There must be registration of truly independent and private radio and television broadcasters before elections to provide Zimbabweans with truly alternative platforms of communication.

· Inclusive invitation and accreditation of election observers six months before and after the election

-The composition, structure and operations of the accreditation committee should reflect inclusivity and the true spirit of an independent ZEC.
Accreditation must be decentralized.
Accreditation must be done in terms of the SADC guidelines on elections whose purpose is to ensure total transparency of the electoral process as opposed to other parochial and partisan considerations which do not serve that purpose.
The observers must be invited without bias or partisan considerations.

· The logistics of the election, the selection and deployment of polling officers and stations must be inclusive under the control of ZEC

-ZEC must follow international best practice where the civil service staff and ZEC staff undertake a transparent hiring process. Political parties need to be involved in ballot paper design and auditing, production process and distribution of ballots as was successfully done in Zambia and Kenya.

 Electoral law amendments and reforms

We must ensure that the laws governing elections are in line with the Constitution and the expectations of the people. Repressive laws such as POSA and AIPPA have no role to play in a free and fair election as envisaged by SADC guidelines on that subject.

· The code of conduct for our security forces during elections

-The role of the security sector in this election must be clearly defined in line with international best practice. The security sector must be professional, impartial, and non-partisan and desist from overtly making partisan political statements and abusing State resources to further the narrow partisan interests. Security forces are a national asset belonging to the people of Zimbabwe for peace and tranquility and not the opposite.

The major stumbling block to the implementation to the above already agreed reforms remains a palpable deficit of political will to implement agreed issues, without which we are likely to reproduce electoral contestations and a disputed outcome.  
While the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must be responsible for everything to do with elections, there are disturbing reports of the involvement of spooky and shadowy elements in civilian issues of the voters’ roll and registration, with the Registrar-General being the civilian face AND FORCE of this murky system.
As the MDC, the people’s party of excellence, we want to state and restate that there shall be no credible election without the implementation of the aforementioned minimum reforms.
In a short while, I will be visiting players within SADC and the AU to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe are guaranteed of a free and fair election that will usher in a new dispensation.

It is my fervent prayer that peace prevails in our beloved and beautiful country. Peace in the home, peace in the community, peace in all the dour corners of our country.
Yes, peace in parties and peace in all political processes including our national elections.

God bless you.

Together to end,building a youth with a difference.

Youth Last Mile rallies at the weekend in Mbire and Redcliff

The Youth Real Change Team is on the road again this weekend, the first stop is at Mbire on Saturday, where they will address a last mile youth rally. They will proceed to  Redcliff on Sunday where they are expected to address at Torwood hall.

Youth Assembly President Solomon Madzore will be the main speaker at both rallies, he will be in the company of the Youth Real Change Team.

The team is addressing a series of rallies urging the youths to register to vote in their numbers. The youths are being urged to vote for a new government led by Dr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile the Youth Assembly President Madzore has welcomed  ZINASU’s position to support the MDC in the forth coming elections. Leader Madzore said ZINASU has proven beyond doubt that they are a progressive movement.

“It is now clear that ZINASU is serious on bringing change to the lives of students at campuses and the nation as a whole, we urge all the founding organisations of the people’s party to put their weight behind the MDC  in this last half mile,” Leader Madzore said.

ZINASU resolved recently at their general council that “Mugabe is an enemy beyond reconciliation” therefore they would put their weight behind Dr Tsvangirai.

Together to the end,building a youth with a difference.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Press Statement by the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Theresa Makone

Policy on civic registration of citizens in Zimbabwe Following complaints raised by colleague ministers and responses proffered by the office of the Registrar General, it was clear that there is need for the ministers of Home Affairs to come up with clear policy guidelines.

It is important to state from the outset that issues raised by Cabinet are not new. It is surprising that complaints reach a crescendo towards elections for obvious reasons.

The main issues raised included among others;
  1. Availability of birth certificates,
  2. Replacement of lost identity documents,
  3. Length of queues at the Registrar’s offices,
  4. Acceptability of downloaded passport forms,
  5. Cost of passports,
  6. Cost of the voters’ roll,
  7. Registration of women who are removed from their areas of birth by marriage,
  8. Registration of persons in their new places of residence,
  9. Registration of aliens on the voters’ roll,
  10. Attitude displayed by staff towards the public,
Today, the 23rd of April, Cabinet has agreed on the following:

1. Availability of Birth Certificates
  • Babies born at clinics should be availed with birth certificates immediately.
  • Babies born at home should be issued birth certificates as soon as practically possible at the nearest office of the registrar.
  • Where loss of the birth certificate is as a result of burning down of the homestead, theft or deliberate acts of disenfranchisement, a person will have these replaced free of charge because the causes of loss are beyond the control of the individual, and therefore the persons cannot suffer double jeopardy. Confirmation of the loss is by way of police records of local leadership.
  • Those who misplace their documents should have these replaced at cost.

2. Replacement of lost ID’s
  • Identity documents lost as a result of regular misplacement shall be replaced at cost and shall not exceed $5.
  • Documents lost through arson, or forcible removal from owner in order to disenfranchise shall be replaced free of charge.
  • Further, prior to the harmonised elections of 2013, all identity documents shall be availed to citizens, free of charge, for a period up to the closing of the roll. At the same time, those who are not on the voters’ roll can be automatically entered on it.
3. Length of queues at the Office of the Registrar
  • A structure be put in place at the main entrance of the Registrar’s offices. There shall be a commissioner there who will direct the public to the offices that they wish to visit.
  • This way, long queues seen by passer-by that have individuals wanting different services as well as those visiting other ministries will be a thing of the past.
  • This arrangement will eliminate touts who give numbers to people in the queues for a fee.
4. Acceptability of downloaded internet passport forms
  • Passport forms that are downloaded from the Registrar’s website, shall be accepted by the office of the registrar with immediate effect.
  • Officers that refuse to accept these forms must be reported to their superiors.
5. Cost of passports

There has been a general complaint that only passports priced at $300 were being processed, and none at $50.
  • With immediate effect, there shall be two separate windows for passport applications, one for urgent passports and another for ordinary passports.
  • The ordinary passport shall be issued no later than four weeks from the date of submission.
6. Cost of voters’ roll
  • With immediate effect the voters’ roll should be issued in an electronic format to stakeholders.
  • If required in printed form, the voters’ roll should be pegged at $5 000 per copy.
7. Registration of married women voters
  • Women voters who find themselves removed from their original birthplaces will be registered in their new places of residence upon authentication by husband, husband’s relatives, their own children, neighbours, elderly people and or traditional leaders. Their identity details can be located on the Registrar’s system by giving details of origin.
8. Registration of voters in new constituencies

With immediate effect, all voters should be facilitated to change their address once, from their old to their new residential addresses. No one should be required to travel to their old places of residence to effect this change.

9. Registration of aliens on the voters’ roll

  • The current law allows aliens to register as voters right away. If one is born in Zimbabwe, or if either parent is Zimbabwean, they automatically are Zimbabwean.
  • Aliens with alien IDs but who qualify as voters must have these swapped for citizen IDs.
  • The registration slips that they are given now, will be presented together with IDs for voting purposes, even if their names do not appear on the final voters’ roll.
10. Attitude displayed by the Registrar General’s staff towards the public

The issue of touts is dealt with by having a facility at the entrance where people are told where to go to have their issues addressed. A concerted effort to have staff trained in public etiquette is going to be organised by the ministry and the office of the RG. In the meantime, staff will be reminded to apply the African Ubuntu towards the public, who are after all their masters.

I thank you!!!

Together to end,building a youth with a difference.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Nothing to celebrate on Independence Day

More than 33 years ago the youths of this nation took it upon themselves to liberate this country from oppression, 33 years down the line we found the same laws used by the oppressors are still used by the so called liberators.

If we look at the main reasons why Zimbabwe went to war it was to eradicate dominance, exclusion and discrimination.

Looking at it closely, we still see those tenets in the current setup, save to say they have worsened. Before 1980 the youths found themselves at the mercy of oppressive laws such as LOMA, and many other draconian laws that prevented the black youth from having economic, political and social freedoms. From 1980 to now the Zimbabwean youths have observed the same laws being reenacted by the Mugabe regime to deny the youths of Zimbabwe the same freedoms that the youths fought for during the liberation struggle.

Zimbabwe went to war so that we get rule of law in the country, so that we end politically motivated arrests, and for us to get a free and fair judiciary system. 33 years on, Mugabe has turned the country into a police state and converted the Attorney General’s office to be his personal property, forgetting what drove nationalist into a liberation to struggle.

People like Samora Machel had love to extend their help to and for the region to get independence but Mugabe could not plough back all he can show is to host Mengistu Haile Mariam.

When Samora said Aluta Continua we believe he was saying Continua, education, rule of law, democracy and respect for the various freedoms and human rights.

Many MDC youths have been arrested, beaten and tortured. The people of Zimbabwe have no  freedom of speech and association. The police have turned into ZANU PF puppets arresting anyone they believe is against the ideologically bankrupt- ZANU PF.

Just as the youths of pre 1980 were thrown into jail, killed and arrested the MDC members have been arrested, with some going for years without freedom because of the partisan contact of the prosecutors and the police.

Under the Smith regime black Zimbabweans were not allowed to vote, the youths of the 1970s went to war to ensure a one man one vote but Mugabe has labeled others “Aliens’. The irony of it is that the same people voted in the 1980 elections.

There is a stage that those who took part in the liberation struggle diverted the freedom train, all the efforts became a tale of the hijacked agenda .It is very clear that Mugabe is presiding over the independence celebrations for the last time.

The MDC led by Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai will restore ownership of the liberation struggle to the people of Zimbabwe. We are declaring financial, social and political independence.

Together to the end,building a youth with a difference.