Opposition political parties in Zimbabwe have intensified their push for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 general election which they say will not be free and fair without the changes.

Speaking at a public hearing here Monday on the Election Resource Centre petition which the Parliamentary Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs conducted, the parties said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be revamped to give the next polls credibility.

The political parties also said the country's electoral laws should be aligned to the Constitution before next general election. Some of them have since threatened that they would not participate in the next polls unless the reforms were carried out.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Secretary-General Douglas Mwonzora said the reforms would ensure that the polls were handled by an institution trusted by many.

"We are also calling for the demilitarization of ZEC so that no security service personnel should be allowed to be part of the electoral process. We are calling for the Diaspora to be allowed to vote. Mechanisms must be put in place to facilitate that," he added.

Harare Central Member of Parliament Murisi Zwizwai, also of the MDC-T, said the ZEC should be granted full independence as opposed to the current regime where it reported to the Minister of Justice.

"The mere existence of police and military officers within ZEC is very worrisome. ZEC should be demilitarized," he said.

An official of the other MDC faction, Henry Chimbiri, said his party was also in support of the complete overhaul of ZEC and was against the biometric voter registration proposed to be used in the next general election.

"The proposed biometric voter registration system is a (ruling Party) Zanu PF scam aimed at rigging. It's already flawed before it comes into force," he said.

The Election Resource Centre, through its petition, is demanding that the Electoral Act should be reviewed in compliance with the Constitutional provisions to guarantee an undisputed electoral process. It is pushing for independence of ZEC, continuous voter registration and education, votes for those in the Diaspora as well as those in prisons and hospitals.