Not yet ready for elections: PM

Media reports indicating that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wrote to President Robert Mugabe asking him to allow the nation to hold elections this year are mischievous and untrue.

John Makumbe
John Makumbe

The PM rightly stated that the inclusive government had become increasingly dysfunctional and gridlocked. He said the holding of national polls as soon as possible could eliminate this problem as people would be able to “freely and fairly” choose a national leadership of their choice. The PM is painfully aware of the consequences of holding national elections when the political environment is as polarised as it is. Nowhere in his letter does the PM state that elections should be held this year.

On the contrary, he outlined some of the numerous reforms that have since been agreed upon by the political leadership – but not implemented. Tsvangirai is emphatic that these reforms must addressed prior to the holding of elections. Indeed, it would be foolhardy for any political party to advocate elections before the reforms have been implemented.

Most Zimbabweans do not wish to participate in elections that will result in the thwarting of the choice of the people as happened in June 2008. Most of the reforms seek to prevent this. For example, there has not been any meaningful restoration of peace and stability since the dark days of June 2008. The reason for this is that law enforcement agents have deliberately shied away from investigating, arresting and prosecuting the known perpetrators of the 2008 violence and human rights violations.

The PM courageously reminded the President of some of his own shortcomings regarding the implementation of the Global Political Agreement. Matters pertaining to the appointment of senior personnel in government after consultations between the principals are a case in point. The terms of office of both the Commissioner-General of ZRP and the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have expired or are about to expire. Mugabe is very likely to single-handedly re-appoint both these officials in defiant violation of the GPA.

This will only make matters worse for the inclusive government, and may cause further delays in the holding of elections. The PM was also irked by Mugabe’s promotion of Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba to the rank of Major General after he had labelled the PM a security risk. It is common cause that Nyikayaramba was being rewarded by Mugabe for his unprofessional conduct.

Tsvangirai therefore underlined the need for the reform of the security sector before elections can be held. We all know Mugabe is unlikely to accept this, and can therefore safely conclude that elections are not likely to be held this year.

In his long letter to Mugabe, Tsvangirai decries the lack of progress in such matters as the constitutional reform process, media reforms, and electoral reforms. These are all matters that have a serious bearing on whether or not the next elections will be free and fair.

Post published in: Analysis

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