Bill fails to protect people: Crisis

The electoral bill that was recently published fails to protect the people of Zimbabwe as it sticks to administrative issues and ignores issues of political violence and security sector reforms, says Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe Director MacDonald Lewanika.

He blasted army generals for not respecting diversity in Zimbabwe and said that civil society was concerned that security and issues of politics were not considered in the bill.

Speaking at the sidelines of a civil society meeting Lewanika said the bill does nothing to protect people.

"In terms of the discussions we heard the bill sticks to electoral administrative issues and there are issues to deal with the context and environment and that cannot be dealt in terms of the bill but should be dealt in terms of the constitution reforms and political behavior and culture and also security sector reforms," said Lewanika.

On security sector reforms Lewanika said that the military should also stay out of politics as they are required by the constitution supposed to be apolitical and bear allegiance to the laws of the country.

Zimbabweans regard service chiefs as a major stabling block to the holding of a free and fair elections which will not be similar to the sham 2008 Presidential run-off sham where the military through the Joint Operation Committee (JOC) which is still pulling the strings forced them to vote for Mugabe.

"Our position on service chiefs is that there have no role to play in terms of public political process. They need to be above party politics," said Lewanika.

Over the years the military have said that they would not recognize any other leader but President Robert Mugabe, with Brigadier Douglas Nyikayamba who has assumed the role of army spokesperson recently saying that elections should be held this year and declaring that Mugabe will win the elections.

"The military is very errant and some transformation needs to take place which allows them to act in a non partisan manner. Soldiers who make such statements as Nyikayaramba are not professionals and should not wear the military uniform," said Lewanika.

With the military already declaring Zanu PF and Mugabe winners even before polls are held many people who have been bashed by soldiers during the polls before are not eager for polls considering that their vote does not really count.

Also the Electoral Bill does not proffer a solution to the involvement of the military in public electoral systems leaving people wary and scared of participating in polls if there are ever held.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently challenged soldiers meddling in politics to discard their military gear and stand against him as politicians.

And in response Nyikayaramba who is widely regarded as the embodiment of Zanu PF desparathion said that the army treats Tsvangirai and his party as a national threat and therefore the need to deal with him in uniform.

Mugabe has done nothing to reign in his military chiefs and instead has he has called upon people critical of there role to leave them alone.

Mugabe did nothing to condemn the army chiefs' breach of the constitution giving credence to the assertions by some political parties that he is now only a puppet of the service chiefs.

"A normal soldier should know that he is there to protect the people and if we hear soldiers talking about politics then there are not fit to wear the uniform as they do not respect the differences among people who are from different political parties," said Lewanika.

Post published in: Politics

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