Think tank and advocacy institution on elections and democracy, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has condemned newly-appointed Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Josaya Hungwe for saying Zanu PF will involve the army in its campaign ahead of the 2018 elections.
"The Election Resource Centre (ERC) is concerned with Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, Josaya Hungwe's statement that Zanu PF will work with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) to campaign ahead of the 2018 general elections," the organisation's executive director Tawanda Chimhini said.
Chimhini urged the ZDF to adopt a non-partisan role during the electoral processes.
"As ERC, we urge the ZDF to maintain a non-partisan role during the electoral processes. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must ensure that political parties observe neutrality and promote free, fair and credible elections," said Chimhini
Three weeks ago, TellZim News quoted Hungwe boasting that the Zanu PF Team Lacoste faction had ultimately won its war with rival G40 courtesy of the intervention by ZDF. He went on to brag that the party would campaign with the help of soldiers, encouraging the involvement of the military in every step of the way.
ERC, however, says the neutrality of the armed forces, as is required by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, must be respected by all political parties.
"Section 208 (2) (a) and (b) states that 'neither the security services nor any of their members may, in the exercise of the functions (a) 'act in a partisan manner' (b) 'further the interests of any political party or cause.'"
"It is important to ensure principles of transparency, freedom of speech and impartiality are maintained because the country is a signatory to the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections," Chimhini said.
The election advocacy group urged the government to ensure that a peaceful environment is maintained to enable citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote without fear or intimidation.local