By Staff Reporter
The chairman of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), Engineer Joelson Mugari, reiterated the pressing need for comprehensive electoral reforms in Zimbabwe.
Speaking during a press conference in Harare today, Mugari highlighted the significant progress made since the inaugural NERA meeting, highlighting the commitment of various political parties and civic societies to reshape the electoral landscape in the country.
“At the inaugural meeting, we witnessed the coming together of several political parties and civic societies to examine the electoral systems and playing field in Zimbabwe. The urgent need for electoral reforms was emphasized, and key issues of concern were identified,” said Mugari.
The identified issues included the demilitarization of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), equitable distribution of ballot papers, transparent appointment of ZEC commissioners, non-alignment of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to any political party, assisted voters’ right to choose their own assistants, equal access to media, respect for the code of conduct, and expedited resolution of electoral disputes.
“Since then, we have made significant strides in advocating for these reforms. Petitions demanding the implementation of certain acts and procedures will soon be presented to ZEC, Parliament, and other government ministries. We are committed to ensuring that the voices of the people are heard and that their rights to free and fair elections are protected,” he said
NERA’s recent meeting, held a few days ago, further solidified their commitment to electoral reforms. Representatives from various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and political parties actively participated in discussions, outlining demands for reforms.
The independence of ZEC and the inclusion of maximum age limits for presidential candidates were identified as key priorities.
“The unity among political parties in pushing for these reforms was emphasized, recognizing the impact it has on economic growth and the citizens’ right to choose their preferred leaders,” said Mugari
He paid tribute to Freedom Of Rights Under Sovereign (FORUS) president Irene Muyenziwa for her unwavering support for the electoral reform agenda, which she has been sponsoring massively.
“We sincerely urge other political parties and their principals to join us in pushing for electoral reforms. The participation of all stakeholders is crucial in creating a level playing field and ensuring free, fair, safe, and credible elections in Zimbabwe. We welcome the involvement of more political parties and civic societies in hosting future meetings and contributing to the agenda for national economic growth,” he said