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Zimbabwe: Opposition wants UN to handle 2018 polls

Zimbabwe: Opposition wants UN to handle 2018 polls

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s opposition parties are calling for United Nations involvement in next year’s presidential election. This comes after a preparatory meeting fell apart on Tuesday, after a confrontation that saw the country’s electoral commission chairperson Rita Makarau walk out accusing the opposition of unfairly targeting her.

The opposition parties led by the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have demanded her resignation, saying she is trying to help 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe win another five-year term.

Zimbabwe’s government took over the acquisition of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits, contrary to an initial agreement where the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would have procured them, a move that the opposition claims will expose the election to fraud and manipulation by the government.

“Our issue is not whether the government must sponsor or must pay the money. That is not our issue. Our issue is whether the government must procure and of course to pay for the kits. This is because we had an agreement and the agreement was that the elections in Zimbabwe which have always been characterized by fraud as well as the other malpractices needed to be fair for everyone. We wanted something which everyone would be happy about and we agreed on a procurement process. This is a breach of the agreement because we feel that one: It compromises the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and two: It exposes the whole process to manipulation by the government like we have witnessed before. That is what we sought to avoid when we entered the agreement,” MDC’s Secretary-General Douglas Mwozora told Africanews.

The electoral commission has been unable to explain why Zimbabwe’s struggling government stepped in to procure the kits, even when an external independent organ was willing to bankroll the procurement.

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