Zanu-PF, MDC-T in 'frank' talks
Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2008
May 24, 2008
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ZANU-PF and the MDC-T met in Harare yesterday to discuss conditions for the June 27 presidential election run-off and both expressed willingness to call for peaceful campaigns.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission facilitated the talks held at its offices under the multi-party liaison committee as it prepares for the June 27 presidential run-off and three House of Assembly by-elections.
The presidential run-off – pitting President Mugabe of Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T – will be held concurrently with by-elections in Gwanda South, Pelandaba-Mpopoma and Redcliff, where elections were deferred after a candidate in each constituency died after nomination.
In an interview last night, the multi-party liaison committee chairperson, Mrs Sarah Kachingwe, confirmed Zanu-PF and MDC-T representatives held "frank and constructive discussions".
"They discussed how they will campaign without causing violence and pledged to advise their supporters that it does not help to indulge in violence.
"The two political parties are saying they will come up with modalities on what they can do (on conflict resolution). These would be presented at our meeting next week," she said.
Mrs Kachingwe commended the two political parties for displaying maturity during the meeting.
"That is the spirit in which the multi-party liaison is supposed to do – talk frankly, friendly and constructively," she added.
The meeting was closed to the media when the discussions opened.
Zanu-PF election agent Cde Austin Chirisa represented the ruling party while Tsvangirai's chief election agent, Mr Christopher Mbanga, and the deputy organising secretary, Mr Morgan Komichi, represented the MDC-T.
Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka represented the police with ZEC director for polling Mr Ignatius Mushangwe and deputy director for public relations Mr Tendayi Pamire representing the electoral body.
In a meeting held before the closed-door session, Mrs Kachingwe said parties contesting in the run-off were invited for the multi-party meeting. "The business of the day would be centred on issues that pertain to the run-off and any other pertinent matters.
"We will discuss modalities on how they (contesting parties) should conduct themselves before, during and after the elections. We want players to play from the same rules. We also want to iron out problematic areas," said Mrs Kachingwe.
Mr Mushangwe indicated that the presidential run-off would be held concurrently with the Gwanda South, Redcliff and Pelandaba-Mpopoma House of Assembly by-elections.
These were not contested during the March 29 harmonised polls following the death of candidates from the Arthur Mutambara camp of the MDC who had been nominated for the constituencies.
Nomination courts sit on June 10 from 10am to 4pm at the Gwanda Magistrates' Court (Gwanda South constituency), Bulawayo Magistrates' Courts (Pelandaba-Mpopoma) and Gweru Magistrates' Courts (Redcliff).
"We are also going to have postal ballots opened and sealed on June 20, 2008. Voting would be ward-based," announced Mr Mushangwe.
On whether ZEC would maintain the same number of polling stations for the presidential run-off, Mr Mushangwe said the commission would discuss the matter with the contesting parties.
"As ZEC, we realised that the turnout at some polling stations was very low (in the March 29 elections). Some recorded two or seven voters. It is an issue we want to discuss with the candidates," he said.
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