Zimbabwe Elections Commission and political parties on Tuesday have disengaged from a dialogue platform with Justice Rita Makarau opposition parties of abusing and insulting her in the media.
Makarau and other ZEC commissioners walked out of the meeting in protest to what she was said was abuse by opposition parties whom she said use private media to denigrate the electoral body.
“This platform is not working according to ZEC, and accordingly there will be no meeting today, you thought we had called you to intimidate you not to demonstrate, we want to give you an assurance that we did not call you to intimidate you,” said Makarau.
Opposition parties were present were however adamant demanding that she address them.
As commotion ensued, police in riot gear descended on the scene, blocking opposition parties from proceeding to Makarau’s office.
Opposition parties then appointed a five member delegation that went to engage Makarau in her office and while they were still holed in the meeting, other parties called them back saying they had made a decision not to continue with futile engagements with ZEC as they felt they were being cheated.
“They cannot continue to talk to Makarau, they should come back to us the people who send them there,” shouted Zimbabwe People First representative and former Zanu PF Politiburo member, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
The political parties then held a caucus meeting in the ZEC boardroom where they announced that they will not engage with ZEC anymore, saying Makarau was compromised by the fact that she is eyeing the Chief Justice job hence she is working to please her masters.
Speaker after speaker castigated ZEC saying the elections body was taking parties for a ride.
“ZEC has to serve the people who are represented by us political parties here present, we are already in the elections season and we cannot expect meetings to be just abandoned willy nilly. If we are going to continue we must have a rigid calendar but the most important is that even the issues to discussed, if you look at the agenda, there was no BVR, there is no mention of change of boundaries.
“It appears ZEC are now specialists in playing delaying tactics and endgames with us, because of that we have lost confidence in them,” said Willias Madzimure from People’s Democratic Party.
Andrew Dhizara from Democratic Alliance- United People’s Party (DA-UPP) also charged that Makarau was compromised by her interests in the Chief Justice job.
“She must say sorry before starting engaging with us again, because if she doesn’t do that, she will do the same tomorrow, she will just walk out, we have a problem, she is in dilemma on who she is serving because her interests are overriding the interests of progress here at ZEC.”
However a Zanu PF representative Kizito Kuchekwa seemed to sing from a different hymn accusing opposition parties of being the problem while justifying ZEC’s action.
What I see is that you seem to assume that everyone here is either NERA or CODE, that is very wrong, I now come to understand ZEC, where it’s having problems with political parties. In my view, we thought the demonstration was against government but now we come to understand that it is against ZEC and Makarau and in that scenario, continuation of dialogue will be problematic, so I understand ZEC,” said Kuchekwa.
Meanwhile political parties under NERA have insisted that they will proceed with the planned demonstration against government’d move to takeover the procurement of Biometric voter registration kits from UNDP.
This is despite police advising them not to march in the central business district but gather at Freedom Square and send 10 representatives to handover their petition to ZEC.