Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on Tuesday demanding electoral reforms ahead of next month’s polls.
The peaceful demonstration, the biggest since street protests that forced former President Robert Mugabe to resign after he was put under house arrest by the military in November last year, was organised by a coalition of opposition MDC Alliance.
MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa, who is President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s toughest opponent in the July 30 General Election, led his supporters during the march.
He handed over a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) demanding transparency on the printing of ballot papers and other reforms before the polls.
“This is a crucial time, we must be vigilant as we demand an environment for credible elections,” MDC organising secretary Amos Chibaya said on the eve of the demonstration.
“The ballot paper remains a serious threat to Zimbabwe’s democracy and as long as the paper has not been scrutinised and the printing of the ballot paper remains shrouded in secrecy, then there cannot be an election.”
He said the opposition wanted the new voters roll that would be produced after the adoption of the biometric registration system to be audited by an independent body.
The opposition was also unhappy about the alleged presence of military personnel in ZEC.
President Mnangagwa has been pledging that his government will deliver credible elections, but critics say he has not translated words into action two months before the polls.