By Staff Reporter
he National Elections Reform Agenda (NERA) announced with great enthusiasm that its second meeting, held today, marked a significant stride towards advocating for crucial electoral reforms in the country.
The event, which brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, unfolded smoothly under the proficient leadership of Chairman Eng. Joelson Mugari.
The gathering witnessed robust participation from prominent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and major political parties adhering to the established hierarchy outlined by NERA administration. Among the notable attendees were the MDC, PDP, ZIPP, FORUS Party, UD-PPZ, LEAD, alongside representatives from CSOs, Labour, CSU, ZCTU, Heal Zimbabwe, women’s groups, and students.
Chairman Eng. Mugari adeptly steered the proceedings, guiding the attendees through a productive planning session. The focal point of discussions centered on outlining the demands for electoral reforms, with a spotlight on the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Additionally, youth representatives from political parties advocated for introducing maximum age limits for presidential candidates and lowering the age for youth candidacy.
The consensus reached during the meeting was a resounding call for electoral reforms, recognizing their positive impact on both political parties and the overall economic landscape. Emphasis was placed on the paramount importance of the participation of all stakeholders in the ZEC processes. Attendees acknowledged that the ongoing political discourse within parties in Parliament should not jeopardize the rights of voters.
In particular, concerns were raised about the potential loss of voter representation due to recalls by a single individual, emphasizing the need for a revisitation of electoral laws. Participants stressed the urgency of enshrining a clause to protect the voters’ voice, ensuring that their choices are not nullified by internal party dynamics.
NERA passionately urges other political parties to join the cause, underscoring the collective need to push for electoral reforms at the earliest opportunity. The organization anticipates the support of more political parties and civic societies, welcoming them to offer venues for hosting future meetings.
A significant development emerged during the meeting, with attendees agreeing to convene a Principals meeting on January 18, 2024. This meeting will be dedicated to the formal signing of NERA documents, solidifying the commitment of all parties involved to collaborate in pursuit of electoral reforms.
Secretary Generals of political parties expressed admiration and support for the initiative during today’s meeting, echoing the aspirations of the past. Civic societies pledged unwavering support to ensure free, fair, safe, and credible elections in Zimbabwe.
Eng. Mugari extended an invitation to other stakeholders, including churches, citizens, and corporates, encouraging them to join hands in supporting the agenda for national economic growth.