There is already acrimony in the Government of National Unity with the MDC-T claiming there is a resurgence of politically motivated violence by Zanu (PF), with the most recent case being the death of 12-year-old, Christpower Maisiri, who was caught in a suspected arson in Headlands. MDC-T Secretary General, Tendai Biti, has laid the blame for Maisiri’s death on Zanu (PF) Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa. Another disturbing trend is the alleged manipulation of the voter registration process by Zanu (PF). MDC-T has claimed that its supports wishing to register are being frustrated at various Registrar General’s offices across the country while Zanu (PF) supporters have no problem with registration. Recently, an MDC-T official revealed to The Zimbabwean that Zanu (PF) officials working in cahoots with officers form the Registrar General’s Department were registering rural voters to vote in urban constituencies in a bid to cover up for their 2008 loss.
Zimbabwe: Crackdown On Civic Groups Continues As Police Raid Zimbabwe Election Support Network Offices | allAfrica.com
Police have been criticized for intensifying their crackdown on civil society organizations, after the latest raid on the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) offices in Harare. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Irene Petras, who is also vice chairperson of ZESN, said officers raided the offices on Tuesday looking for subversive material, documents, gadgets or recordings and illegal immigrants. Petras told SW Radio Africa that the police search warrant was the same as the one used to raid the offices of the Zimbabwe Peace Project recently. “The raids are carried out by the Law and Order unit of the police but we don’t know where the instructions are coming from. It’s quite confusing. One minute we hear from politicians that they have been discussing this, and that attacks on civil society organizations are going to cease, and the next minute there is a raid of another organization. So it seems the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” Petras said.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said Tuesday that a bill to reform the country’s electoral system is flawed because it leaves responsibility for compiling the voters roll with the registrar general, saying the Electoral Commission should do the job.
Under the Electoral Amendment Bill now moving through Parliament, the Office of the Registrar General retains control over the national voters list – albeit under the supervision and oversight of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said this will merely dilute accountability.
Zimbabwe: New bill does not create peaceful electoral environment: Zimbabwe Election Support Network | The Zimbabwean
In its preliminary response to the bill, which has been welcomed by some sections , the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said that it has, “critically assessed the draft Electoral Amendment Bill gazetted last month and suggested further improvements.”
“The Electoral Amendment Bill addresses a number of issues which ZESN believes are essential for the creation of a conducive environment and the levelling of the playing field for credible free and fair elections. At the same time ZESN notes that, even though some of the reforms will significantly improve the current electoral legal framework, the proposed amendments do not go far enough in addressing the creation of a peaceful electoral environment.”