Zimbabwe: Church wants elections postponed

 Zimbabwe's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) has called for the postponement of the March 29 elections saying there are signs the elections will not be free and fair. The commission said the voter registration process fand requirements for the presidential and parliamentary elections are "cumbersome" and will make it difficult for vicitzens in many areas to take part. "There has been inadequate preparation and voter education on the electoral process," the commission said in a statement on Saturday adding that the confusion is compounded because presidential and parliamentary elections will be held together for the first time. Millions of Zimbabweans who have fled to neighbouring countries and overseas to escape their country's economic meltdown should be allowed to vote because they still contribute significantly to Zimbabwe, the commission said. The CJPC urged government authorities to adhere to the Southern African Development Community's Principles and Guidelines Governing the Holding of Democratic Elections "in letter and in spirit." "We would like to remind the relevant authorities and citizens that elections are a process and not a once-off event," it said. The justice and peace commission said that, seven weeks before the elections, citizens still did not have information such as which candidates would be running and which parties would field candidates. "We strongly recommend that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission be dissolved with immediate effect and a new one be appointed in terms of the new law". The commission said. Source: CISA/CJPC

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