By Phil Tejane|
Protesters stormed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau’s offices Friday demanding her resigntation and the setting up of an independent electoral body.
The protesters delivered a petition with thousands of signatures, including those of leading opposition figures Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T, MDC Renewal’s Tendai Biti and Simba Makoni of Mavambo Kusile Dawn.
“Today, we have handed this petition to Makarau to pronounce an end to her agenda of rigging elections. We will continue protesting until our demands are met,” said Job Sikhala, an MDC-T national executive member, addressing the placard-waving protesters outside Makarau’s office in Harare.
The protesters marched under the banner of the National Youth Alliance (NYAA), a confederation of the jobless, students and members of various political parties and civic organisations. They sang and danced and denounced Makarau, calling her ‘election thief’. Riot police were caught off guard and only dispersed the demonstrators when they marched on parliament, at the opposite end of the city.
“The petition has reached Makarau,” said NYAA spokesperson Itai Dzamara. “When the protesters arrived at the ZEC offices, the security personnel closed the gate but we already had NYAA secretary-general Lloyd Pasi inside Makarau’s office and handing it in.”
Dzamara said NYAA was gathering more signatures from around the country, including online.
Said NYAA president, Gilbert Mutubuki: “There must be a truly independent electoral commission and we shall roll out more protests as NYAA until our demand is met. We want a credicle voters roll. We want a voter registration process to be conducted consistently as is required by the constitution.”
MDC-T’s Sikhala said they would continue putting pressure on Makarau until she goes.
“Though she fled at our sight, she received the petition we brought her demanding her immediate resignation. If she doesnt accede to our demands, we shall continue storming her office until she resigns. Resign, election thief, resign. Now is the time!” said Sikhala.
Makarau is accused of helping dictator Robert Mugabe to rig the 2013 election. Makarau refused to provide opposition parties with copies of the voters’ roll before that election, earning condemnation from the African Union.
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