BULAWAYO - Former Education minister David Coltart has warned opposition parties and civic society that Zanu PF will not easily give in to electoral reforms.
With time running out before eagerly anticipated 2018 elections, the respected lawyer said only a united opposition was the solution against the ruling party which has been accused of rigging the elections allegedly through the aid of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
“Zanu PF and its apparatchiks are not going to change, the stakes are too high, they would use as they have done for the past 37 years, every trick in the book to retain power,” Coltart told delegates attending a National Youth Development Trust-organised public meeting here on Thursday.
“It doesn’t matter what we say here, how many court charges we bring, what academic articles we write, they (Zanu PF) will not change. In that situation we need all of us to look at ourselves as opposition parties.
He added: “We need to understand that no matter what we say, the system is not going to change. The only way we can defeat this system is through a landslide. The only way we can achieve a landslide is if we agree on a coalition where there is one presidential candidate and one democratic candidate in every parliamentary constituency and, quite frankly, that is where our focus needs to be.”
Coltart said the problem was not the electoral process but those who are in charge of the process.
“The problem in our electoral process is that those who have ruled this country have viewed the electoral process as an exclusive rather than an inclusive process.
“They find rules and putting obstacles to exclude people rather than have a system that includes every person,” he said.
Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo, who is also Higher and Tertiary Education minister last year declared the ruling party “wont reform itself out of power”, a statement which drew the ire of opposition parties and civic society who argued it was a clear sign of Zanu PF’s insincerity with regards to electoral reforms.
Coltart, who drew laughter from the crowd when he said he preferred referring to the ruling party as the ruining party, said despite clear interference in Zec affairs by Zanu PF, the electoral body had a national duty to perform.
“Zec must be independent; it must not be subject to the control of anyone, that’s a national consensus. It must also act without fear, favour or greed.”
He further noted that, it was unfortunate that millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora continue to be denied the right to vote.
“The Diasporans absolutely have an invaluable right to vote. It’s not up to Zec to say we do not have money or systems. They have to find money to ensure the Diasporans can be able to register.”
He attributed the Diasporans’ case to lack of political will.
“Why is it that every single of our neighbouring States allows their citizens to register and vote in other States in their elections and yet in Zimbabwe, despite a constitutional obligation, they are absolutely denied?” asked Coltart.