Securing Zimbabwe’s next election

As part of his 88th birthday celebrations last week, President Robert Mugabe gave several interviews indicating that he wants elections this year.


He indicated that the effect of reforms would be to hand electoral victory to other parties, and he would not have that. He categorically stated that he would exercise his presidential powers in accordance with the constitution and announce when the elections would take place.

Mugabe’s interpretation of his powers is mistaken. Under the current political dispensation of an inclusive government, he has to get Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s agreement for him to call elections, and such elections must be cleared by SADC, the guarantor of the inclusive government. Mugabe’s declaration that they can, ‘very easily,’ reject president Zuma as facilitator of the ongoing political negotiations appears more to be wishful thinking than reality.

What is clear from Sekuru Mugabe’s birthday speeches is his determination to go to elections this year, in the absence of credible democratic reforms.

As we push for a new, democratic constitution, we are equally calling for the cleaning up of the voters’ roll and for young people to ensure that they are registered to vote. We are pushing for the longer-term security sector reform alongside more urgent reforms within the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to weed out state agents and military officials planted within the elections management body.

Unlike in Zambia, where security forces are non-partisan and are completely separated from political affairs, SADC and the international community should know that the leadership of Zimbabwe’s security forces is extremely politicised and partisan towards Zanu(PF).

Joining hands with the churches and the labour movement, civil society groups must now engage in a massive citizens’ mobilization exercise to raise an army of activists ready to stand up for change and to defend the basic right to vote and to have the outcome of the vote respected.

Resisting democratic change is a futile exercise. Free advice to Mugabe is that change is good, and inevitable, the sooner he embraces it, the better. – Dewa Mavhinga, Regional Coordinator, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

Post published in: News

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