MDC-T demands realignment of laws

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MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu

THE MDC-T has urged the international community to ensure that Zimbabwe adopts legislative reforms before restoring normal diplomatic and economic relations with the country.

NQOBANI NDLOVU
STAFF REPORTER

Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) and other Western countries have shown signs of thawing, with the EU extending $270 million in development assistance to the country for the first time in more than a decade.

Last year, the EU lifted travel and financial sanctions on senior Zanu PF officials except for President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.

Government officials have indicated that Zimbabwe was ready to normalise diplomatic and economic relations with the West, but the MDC-T said some conditions should be first met before that happens to ensure, for example, free and fair future elections.

“This realignment (of laws) process must be holistic and comprehensive in order to include an agreed list of all the pieces of legislation and statutory instruments that must be harmonised with the new Constitution,” MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu said.

“There should be a clearly defined guideline and timetable, but at any rate, the whole process should be completed by the end of 2017 at the latest.”

Gutu said harsh media laws, among others, that restrict freedom of expression should be repealed. He noted that professional and non-partisan Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials should be appointed to run the country’s elections that have been marred by vote-rigging allegations.

“There must be a complete overhaul of all legislation controlling freedom of assembly, association and speech,” he said.

“By the beginning of 2016, there must be a total transfer of the responsibility for the registration of voters and the maintenance of the voters’ roll, to ZEC.

“Voter registration must be automatic for all Zimbabweans either on their 18th birthday or upon registration as a citizen. The voters’ roll must be fully biometric and updated automatically from the national citizenship register.”

The voters’ roll, Gutu said, must be made available to all Zimbabweans even through Internet.

“The new national voters’ roll must be available by the end of 2016 at the latest and all future delimitations of boundaries of all electoral districts must conform to the national voters’ roll. The State must provide an unequivocal undertaking that there will be no restrictions on the number or origins or movements of observers to the next harmonised elections.”