As long as the ZEC, as presently constituted, conducts the elections, there can never be a free and fair plebiscite in our country. The organization is compromised. Military and intelligence operatives run the secretariat. It's common knowledge these organizations are synonymous with ZANU (pf). Their instructions come from Shake-Shake House. The people in Shake-Shake house quiver at the mention of free and fair elections.
Only recently, Vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa was at the forefront of those who threaten voters who might be tempted to cast their ballots for candidates other than those from Zanu (pf). He reminded his audience at campaign rallies that he is a trained killer. That development would only go to areas that vote for his party's candidates. That food handouts for the poor would only be given to his party's supporters. And the party did just that – dished Chinese- donated rice to the party faithful. The message is quite clear – this is a government for ZANU (pf) supporters only – others can just pay their taxes and shut up. Don't expect anything from us.
The by-elections also proved ZANU (pf) is incapable of campaigning fairly. Obviously, the party knows it's unelectable. Instead of campaigning on its record in government over 34 years, the party uses the military to intimidate people. It's use of violence has been recorded by several NGOs and independent observers. It's vote- buying tactics are the envy of many politicians. To cap it all, there is always ZEC which can be relied upon to deliver the desired result.
Chiefs and headmen also played their part. They openly declared their support for Zanu(pf) and ordered their people to attend the party's rallies. Some even instructed their people to go to the polls in groups and to stand in line with their headman who recorded their names.
Many young people claimed they were illiterate and needed "assistance" to cast their votes in a country that boasts of 90 percent literacy!
In various constituencies local thugs were busy recording the names of the voters as they emerged from the polling booths. This was obviously meant to send a chilling message to the people. It is also obvious this was being done on instructions from a central command place.
This was all being done in an election boycotted by the main opposition parties. There were no serious challengers to zanu(pf), not even in Hurungwe West where the party deployed its big guns. It was a one- horse race.
Then there is the question of the electoral laws that are out of alignment with the new constitution which zanu(pf) stubbornly refuses to amend. With the dice loaded in favour of one party, there can never be free and fair elections in zimbabwe.Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga