The Botswana Society Solidarity Coalition (BOCISCOZ) has said no elections should be conducted in Zimbabwe now as the prevailing political situation is not conducive. This motion was agreed on during the Zimbabwe Week Focus Seminar hosted by BOCISCOZ Secretariat at the Botswana Center of Human rights ÔÇôDitshwanelo.
In an interview, Alice Mogwe, the Director of Ditshwanelo, said BOSISCOZ feels Zimbabwe is not ready for elections because of a number of issues, which include “harassment of civil society activists which continues unabated and reports from civil society organizations, which indicate that such violations of human rights have intensified over the past few months”.
Mogwe said the politically motivated violence that is ongoing poses threats to the people who then will not be able to vote independently.
BOCISCOZ hosted several civil society organizations from Zimbabwe, which included Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC).
In addition, BOCISCOZ hosted Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), an organization that played a key role in preventing the delivery of arms and ammunition from China to Zimbabwe in 2008. The organizations gave an update on the current situation in Zimbabwe.
Mogwe said from the research conducted by ZESN the Zimbabwean voters roll is flawed, saying that “2.5 million people that are registered as voters are deceased”.
“Prospects for free and fair elections are limited,” she said. “If elections proceed, they will result in rigged elections.”
Mogwe continued: “BOSISCOZ has worked on a petition that we will be presenting to President Khama, requesting him to mediate on behalf of the Zimbabweans,” she said. She added that despite the ongoing strike in the country, BOSISCOZ is convinced that Khama is in a position to intervene for Zimbabwe at SADC as he has always done.
“As BOSISCOZ, the situation in Zimbabwe is a domestic issue for Botswana,” she said.
Speaking during the Seminar, Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network representative, Runyararo Munetsi said there was need for new political reforms in Zimbabwe.
“People are now scared to participate in the coming elections due to government interference which hinders fair elections as witnessed during the 2008 elections,” she said.
From its report, ZESN said Zimbabwe is a fragile state and society wobbles towards defining its future, serious consideration must be given to the timing of the next elections.
“Zimbabwe is at a critical juncture and the choices that the pivotal players (domestic, regional and continental) will perhaps define the strategic direction of the country for years to come,” says ZESN 2011Ballot news report.
Mogwe said, “We will closely observe the situation to ensure that innocent people do not suffer.”