Why 2018 Elections in the absence of Electoral Reforms?

Is it forgone that ZANU-PF is going to make a resounding “victory” in the forth coming 2018 harmonized elections as they did in 2013? This is going to be talk of the past if all necessary electoral reforms are going to be in place timeously and if not why going for the elections then.

ZANU-PF should not be given any chance this time around as we have learnt a lot in the past 37 years as we have witnessed non-improvements in their quality of services which are next to zero. Their road is ultimate doom so why going for elections if we all know that it is going to be ZANU-PF again.
A grand coalition made up of all political parties, all stakeholders, civic organisations including all individuals should be in place so that we have one voice and a single agenda to remove ZANU-PF from power once and for all.
All necessary electoral reforms should be seen to be adhered to and no compromise on this.
Institutions like Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should be mandated with the smooth flow of all the tasks involved in the electoral processes well resourced and capacitated to carry their mandate efficiently without bias to any political party especially the ruling party. Efforts must be made to see to it that, according to the constitution section 67, all Zimbabweans must vote – hence plans for the Diaspora Zimbabweans to vote must materialize let alone those in hospitals and prisons. Electoral disputes as experienced in the past dating back to 2000 should not be part and parcel of 2018 such as the aftermath of 2008 in which more than 200 mostly MDC-T supporters lost their lives.
We need to have an accurate voter’s role not subject to manipulation as established in the 2013 which was infested with millions of ghost voters. Availing the voters role just hours before elections by the then Registrar General of Voters should not be acceptable. Zec should supply satisfactory answers to the questions raised during this current voter registration exercise to assure the electorate voter registration confidence in preparation for 2018.
In addition National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) should be engaged in meetings as need be with Zec so as to map the best way forward through discussions and clarifications on political grievances regarding electoral reforms ahead of 2018. Without mutual understanding between Zec and the the grand coalition why go for 2018 elections.
All opposition political parties are well aware of what ZANU-PF does when it comes to elections – be it parliamentary, presidential, by elections etc – accepting the same mistakes will warrant ZANU-PF retain to power and if this is  so why then go for 2018 election?
Intimidation, torture, murder, forced disappearances, police and army partisan to the ruling party, judiciary bias, uneven political playfield and many others should not be allowed to prevail before, during and even after 2018 harmonized elections.
If opposition politics and individual movements do not  help solve the plight of Zimbabweans after having established clearly that the 37 year clueless regime have failed dismally to deliver since its inception – why then go for 2018 elections without certainty of the people’s will – a free Zimbabwe without ZANU-PF culture?
On Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) adequate time must be set aside for training of staff operating the system. Experts reports are that hardware can be adversely affected by the environment ( e.g. heat, humidity & rain). It can also be difficult to obtain  fingerprints from some people and there is a danger of software bugs coupled with a lack of Internet bandwidth in rural areas and poor automatic Fingerprint Information System. We should be aware that the political leadership we are dealing with may not be interested in having an accurate register, basing this on their electoral rigging culture.However use of biometric in election administration is a high technology process: funds have to be raised; materials, equipment and software procured, data collected and processed into meaningful information, duplicate analysis done and multiple entries removed; registers printed and displayed and cards printed and issue. Efficient planning and implementation well in advance is required. Without all these in place – why then should we go for 2018 election?
May I highlight a few sentiments by Obert Gutu, MDC-T national spokesperson in his article published in the Zimbabwean (15th August 2016) in which he stated that without electoral reforms, 2018 elections will be a farce. He also pointed that failure to hold free, fair and credible elections that can successfully pass the test of legitimacy as elections in Zimbabwe are always marred by violence, voter intimidation and all other forms of electoral malfeasance.
He also highlighted the iron fist control of the electronic media for the ruling party’s misleading propaganda. In addition traditional leaders are commandeered to operate as ZANU-PF political commissars, particularly during election times. They are to ensure that all villagers under their control vote for ZANU-PF candidates. Food distribution is used as a political weapon victimising all those who are suspected to support opposition parties.
Having all this knowledge why then can we afford to go for 2018 elections?
Zimbabweans envy to have the possibility for holding free and fair election. We are sick and tired of pervading culture of political interference by the ruling ZANU-PF party.
If needed electoral reforms are not implemented timeously definitely it is impossible to hold a free and fair 2018 election and this result takes us back where we had been or even worse – by empowering ZANU-PF to do what it has done for the past 37 years which is absolutely nothing except making us poorer than before – so  why going to vote in 2018?
Anything short of the will of the people to freely choose who should govern them is not acceptable as it brings political repression and economic stagnation and regression.

Post published in: Featured
  1. Patrick Guramatunhu

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