There is more to free elections than biometric voters roll

Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, announced on Monday, with the usual fun-fare, that the country will be using the new biometric voting system (BVS). The Zanu PF propaganda machine has taken up the challenge to present the new system as the one cure for all the country’s many teething problems of political violence and vote rigging; from hence forth we will have free, fair and credible election!

ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau

ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau

“Zimbabweans should take seriously what the ZEC Chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau said when she clearly said that the new registration of voters was likely to commence in May 2017 and the biometric roll would be polling station-based,” wrote Kazamula Matilaya (Bulawayo 24 Opinion).

“So those who have been crying foul and alleging that there have been some double voting in the country would be rest assured that nothing of that sought would be talked about. The fact that voter registration would be polling station based means there would be no chances of one voting twice. So ZEC should be held with high esteem for coming up with such reforms which would put to rest misconception that had been within some voters in which they thought one can vote twice.”

There WAS double voting in the July 2013 elections; we all saw the YouTube videos of hooded Zanu PF youths who were bussed to vote in Mount Pleasant area, for example. When they were asked where in Mount Pleasant they lived, they could not even name one street in the area. Neither ZEC nor Police even bothered to make even token follow-up investigations of the many reported cases of double voting or any of the other vote rigging irregularities.

Justice Makarau and now the Zanu PF cheer-leaders are making a mountain out of a mole hill of the fact the new system being “polling station based” as if that makes impossible for anyone to tamper with. Nonsense! In 2013 the hooded Zanu PF youths were allowed to vote at different polling stations on production of voter registration receipts showing they had registered late to be in the voters roll; what is there to stop the regime doing the same again in 2018, for example?

Matilaya, Makarau, Register General Tobai Mudede right up to President Mugabe himself, they all know that replacing the old voter registration and the voters roll with the new biometric system will do nothing to address the country’s endemic political culture of violence and vote rigging which has made holding free, fair and credible elections impossible. If this country is to end this corrosive culture then we must implement the democratic reforms so that state institutions like ZEC and ZRP will carry out their respective duties of delivering free and fair elections and maintaining law and order. And never again turn a blind eye to blatant vote rigging by bussed in supporters voting in one polling station to the next.

“Now the opposition political parties which have always been finding faults where there was none in the old voters roll should now join ZEC in making sure that the new voter registration exercise is successful by encouraging their people to register for 2018 harmonized elections,” concluded Matilaya.

The overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans have no clue how Zanu PF has systematically denied them their freedoms and basic rights including the right to a meaningful vote. The regime has turned the whole electoral process into a smokes and mirrors mystery, by introducing the new biometric system the regime is only upgrading its vote rigging system into a black-box mystery which only the experts can decode. The people many not understand how elections are rigged but that is not to say they do not know they are being cheated out of their right to one-man-one-vote, the carrion cry in the fight to end white colonial oppression.

It is heart breaking that now nearly forty years after independence our people are still being cheated out of their freedoms, rights, hopes, dreams and of their very humanity and, to make matters worse, it is none other than those who claim to have liberated the nation from white colonial oppression, their own flesh and blood, who are cheating them. As justice would have it, by cheating the masses President Mugabe and his cronies have cheated themselves too

Zimbabwe is in this political and economic hell-hole today, the economic meltdown affects us all even the ruling elite including President Mugabe himself whose own party is imploding into his face; because the 36 years blundering mistakes have finally come home to roost in their millions, like red-billed quelea. We have known about the blundering mistakes of mismanagement, corruption and lawlessness for years but could not do anything to correct them because by rigging elections Mugabe denied the nation the only effective way of effecting meaningful political and economic change.

Here is our ticket out of this hell-hole – implement the democratic reforms to ensure free and fair elections. God knows this nation is in this hell-hole because of the decades of corrupt and tyrannical rule; this nation is dying, literally, for good and competent government. Implement the democratic reforms and this nation will have taken its first step out of the hell-hole President Mugabe and his cronies and apologists have dragged us into!

Zimbabweans must ignore the call to register as voters on the new biometric system because it will not stop the culture of political violence and vote rigging; let Rita Makarau play alone with her new toy. We must demand the implementation of meaningful democratic reforms nothing less nothing more!

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