Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has asked Malawi to intervene by lobbying with their government to clear uncertainties in the run-up to that countryâ€™s forthcoming elections slated for next year.
In a statement presented to Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) on Tuesday, the Zimbabwean network of civil society organisations participating in the electoral process says while Zimbabwe expects to hold general elections next year, government has not yet announced the date for the polls.
â€œMalawi is part of Sadc and can assist us to address some of the problems we are facing. Zimbabwe has not yet adopted its draft constitution which is supposed to govern the conduct of the next election. We have now reached a deadlock on the way forward on areas of disagreement in the draft constitution and minimum conditions for free and fair elections.
â€œWe want to seek solidarity from the people of Malawi on issues affecting Zimbabwe. Malawi should help us amplify the voice of Zimbabweans and lobby with the Zimbabwean government to finalise the constitution-adoption process,â€ reads the statement in part.
Mesn publicity secretary Steve Duwa said they will engage Malawi Government to liaise with its counterpart on the need to adopt electoral reforms in Zimbabwe, adding Mesn will also use Malawiâ€™s chairmanship in the Sadc Electoral Support Network to push for the same.
â€œIf you donâ€™t manage elections well, you end up putting wrong people in positions and you donâ€™t change anything. There are so many issues affecting credibility of elections in Africa, including use of public resources by ruling parties for campaign.
â€œCivil societyâ€™s role cannot be ignored in elections. We will continue engaging with the relevant parties and also talk about the issues at regional level,â€ said Duwa.
Other issues where Zesn wants Malawiâ€™s assistance on are the independence of Zimbabweâ€™s electoral commission, repeal of restrictive media laws and accreditation of election observers.
Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu on Thursday said government will first liaise with Mesn on the concerns from Zimbabwean CSOs and explore ways of approaching them.
â€œWe will get in touch with Mesn to find out what the issues are. It would be difficult just to say anything right now because Zimbabwe is a sovereign state,â€ said Kunkuyu.