What electoral reforms?” asked Francov.
“I have seen and read many articles on the need for Zimbabwe to reform/change its electoral laws. But I am yet to know or understand exactly what/which laws need to be changed and how they should change.”
You have raised some real important points and worthy our serious consideration.
It has been impossible to have a healthy and functioning democracy in Zimbabwe because most of the people out there do not even have a clue on what constitute free, fair and credible elections and so it has been easily for Mnangagwa to blatantly rig the elections and insist the elections were free, fair and credible.
For elections to be free, fair and credible the process must satisfy laid out laws and procedures in much the same way a game of football is governed by rules everyone must observe. For elections, we have rules saying who can and cannot vote, those eligible to vote must then register and be listed in a voters’ roll, the voters’ roll must be verified and produced at least a month before nomination day, etc., etc.
Not only did ZEC fail to produce a verified voters’ roll a month before nomination day; they never produced one even to this day.
“The electoral commission (ZEC) lacked full independence and appeared to not always act in an impartial manner. The final results as announced by the Electoral Commission contained numerous errors and lacked adequate traceability, transparency and verifiability,” stated the EU Zimbabwe 2018 Election Mission final report.
“As such, many aspects of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe failed to meet international standards.”
Of course, if you do not have the verified voters’ roll you cannot verify who voted and who was denied the vote, how many voted more than once, etc., etc. The opportunity to rig the process is limitless and with no verified voters’ roll they know they will get away with murdered!
Many outsiders have been baffled as to why Nelson Chamisa and his friends in the opposition camp participated in the 2018 elections when ZEC had failed to produce something as basic as a voters’ roll? The answer is simple – greed!.
“The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn’t now do the obvious – withdraw from the (2013) elections,” admitted David Coltart in his book, The Struggle Continues 50 years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe.
“The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility.”
Coltart was an MDC-N Minister of Education in the 2008 to 2013 GNU that failed to implement even one democratic reform in five years.
Robert Mugabe bribed the two MDC faction leaders with the trappings of high office and, with their snouts in the feeding trough, they forgot about implementing the reforms.
SADC leaders, who had helped to hammer out the 2008 Global Political Agreement and got Mugabe and Zanu PF to agree to the raft of reforms, literally begged MDC leaders not to participate in the 2013 elections until the reforms were implemented. SADC leaders wanted the elections postponed until reforms were implemented.
Zanu PF was quick to point out that MDC leaders had never tabled any reform proposals in parliament, which was true. Patrick Chinamasa, who was Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs throughout the GNU, called a press conference to confirm there were no outstanding reform proposals. None!
So, MDC leaders had failed to implement even one reform during the GNU because they were corrupt and were bribed to forget about the reforms using the trappings of high office. They could not boycott the 2013 (and future) elections to protest (pressure Zanu PF) the failure to implement reforms because it was none other than MDC leaders themselves who had sold-out on reforms. And so MDC have participated in the flawed and illegal elections since the GNU because they had no choice; they had the golden chance to implement reforms and they wasted it.
As Coltart readily admitted above, by participating in flawed and illegal elections MDC are giving “the process credibility” and by extension giving the result legitimacy. True enough, Mnangagwa has given the 23 presidential candidates in the July 2018 as proof Zimbabwe is a healthy democracy and the elections were free, fair and credible.
The reason why the opposition have participated in the flawed elections is greed, they knew Zanu PF was offering a 1/3 or so gravy train seats plus a corresponding share of the annual Political Party Finance Act payout. The opposition have found this bait irresistible.
As can been seen from the details above many things must change, must be reformed. It is a legal requirement that ZEC must produce a verified voters’ roll, for example. So one must then look at what reforms are required to force ZEC to carry out this task?
It is common knowledge that state institutions like ZEC, Police, Judiciary, Public Media, are all but Zanu PF departments in all but name. The State President has the power to appoint and fire ZEC, Police, etc. The law must be changed force these public officials to appear before a parliamentary committee with the power have the official removed from office if their performance is unsatisfactory.
In some cases the open up of the democratic space would produce the desired change, for example a healthy and competent media will expose the corrupt and incompetent opposition politicians who have been participating in flawed elections out of greed.
Here is a list of five democratic reforms Zimbabweans should be demanding before the next elections in 2023;
a) a verified voters’ roll
b) Zimbabweans in the diaspora what have a vote
c) Zanu PF must stop politicising state assistance especially in the rural areas that has turned the people into medieval serfs beholden to Zanu PF leaders and their proxies
d) want a free public media, Police and other state bodies
e) corruption must be stamped out, this is the source of billions of dollars bankrolling the Zanu PF vote rigging juggernaut.
See newsflash.co.zw for more details of the above reforms.
The link below will open many other articles on elections and other related issues.
It is no exaggeration than many Zimbabweans out there would say the 2018 elections were rigged. Ask them why and it’s light out!
If we want a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe, then we must earn it. There really is no excuse why the majority of people do not know what constitute free, fair and credible elections in this day and age. If we cannot be bother to ensure we have free, fair and credible elections then we deserve the corrupt and vote rigging dictatorship. And we have certainly got our just deserve!
We need to implement the democratic reforms to restore the individual freedoms and rights including the right to a meaningful vote. We will never secure free, fair and credible elections without securing all the other rights and freedoms.