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Zimbabwe opposition demand 2017 election be conducted by UN, AU

Zimbabwean opposition parties on Wednesday demanded that the 2017 presidential elections should be conducted by a committee set up by the UN and the African Union.

They said this was because they had lost confidence in the neutrality of the local election agency.

President Robert Mugabe, 94 who have been in power for 30 years, is also due to run again.

Leaders from several political parties, including Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tsvangirai, told supporters during a protest rally that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had failed to be partial and should be disbanded.

Police deployed water cannon and anti-riot officers on the streets of the capital throughout the day after confining the protesters to an open space on the edge of the city centre.

The opposition parties, who were united under a National Election Reform Agenda (NERA), were protesting against changes to the voter registration process.

They said that they would rally behind Tsvangirai to face Mugabe in the presidential vote.

Anti-government protests in August descended into some of the worst violence seen in the southern African nation for two decades as anger over economic hardship boiled over.

NERA Chairman Farai Mbire said the UN, African Union and the Southern African Development Community “must immediately establish an independent, tripartite election management body to take over the full functions of ZEC.

The opposition parties said that Mugabe’s government should back off from its decision to take over the purchase of biometric voter registration kits from the United Nations.

They fear this will make it easier for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF to skew the list of eligible voters in its favor.

Mbire did not say what would happen if Mugabe’s government rejected their demands.

ZANU-PF legal secretary and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that it was ZEC’s constitutional right to run elections.

Anti-riot police allowed a handful of NERA officials to present a petition to the offices of ZEC.

Zimbabwe is due to hold its next presidential and parliamentary election by July 2018. Mugabe has been endorsed as the ruling party’s presidential candidate.

Earlier in the day, the police deployed water cannon and anti-riot officers on the streets of the capital ahead of the protest.

An anti-government protests in August descended into some of the worst violence seen in the southern African nation for two decades as anger over economic hardship boiled over.


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