The Movement for Democratic Change says the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front should not abuse traditional leaders by directly or indirectly converting them into de facto commissars of the party.
It said traditional leaders should abide by their constitutional mandate of being apolitical.
Traditional leaders have already endorsed ZANU-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In what appeared to be a response to criticism of party members who travelled to Washington to testify before the United States senate, the MDC said Zimbabwe cannot afford to remain a reclusive pariah state whilst the rest of the world is moving closer together by forming progressive regional and international alliances that foster political stability and socio-economic growth and integration.
“To enable Zimbabwe to be fully re-integrated into the global community, there are certain essential deliverables that have to be discharged,” the party said.
“First and foremost, we should be able to conduct free and fair elections that do not give rise to disputed and contested results. We sincerely hope and trust that the Zimbabwe government under President Emmerson Mnangagwa shall honestly work towards the cultivation of a conducive political environment that will guarantee the holding of free and fair elections in 2018. In this respect, therefore, we demand that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be adequately capacitated to enable them to run credible, free and fair elections next year.
“We also look forward to a situation whereby the military shall promptly return to the barracks in order to avoid the perception that Zimbabwe is now a military state that is being run by a military junta. Of course, we are acutely aware of the fact that more often than not, perception can easily be deduced as reality.
“In addition, the MDC also calls upon the freeing of the State-owned print and electronic media to enable all political players to have free and unfettered access, in tandem with the dictates of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
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