The Zanu PF government is prepared to hold elections only under its own terms. Many will then argue as to the purpose of holding an election in which President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF is guaranteed to win.
Opinion: Zanda Shumba
It does not make any sense to Zimbabweans to hold such a predetermined election whose sole purpose is to hoodwink the international community that the country has had an election in which the incumbent won and, therefore, has a legitimate mandate to rule.
This is why Botswana has long refused to observe programmed results, mock polling elections and so distancing itself from aiding the government from continuing to abuse its people. There is always voter apathy by the majority of Zimbabweans resulting from successive frustration at the elections.
The Constitution is designed so that Zanu PF and Mugabe, if he were immortal, would rule forever. To start with the President wields power to appoint persons to key positions in all strategic government, commissions, vice-presidents, and recently through Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe has amended the Constitution to afford him unilateral powers to appoint the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President.
Such concentration of power under a single official goes a long way in the creation and maintenance of dictators. At this rate Parliament will be appointed by the executive rather than be voted for by the electorate.
I believe if Mugabe had his way, Zanu PF would totally do away with elections and have all appointments done by him alone. For example, Mnangagwa wants to succeed Mugabe, and has already meticulously tempered with the both party and national constitutions to give him absolute powers in the event that he becomes the successor in some not too distant future.
Working with such an intricate system carefully set-up to perpetuate Zanu PF hegemony, the opposition has an uphill task to defeat Zanu PF in an election. Before the opposition can defeat Zanu PF in elections, it has to first defeat the biased electoral system itself. If the bias is not removed, none of the opposition can win. Most of the powers and advantages Zanu PF wields are because of the clauses enshrined in the Constitution.
These clauses were planted in thereby someone, who plays his game cunningly well, someone who hates elections so much that he may ultimately do away with them altogether.
Though the opposition rightly demands that government should not procure biometric voter registration (BVR) kits, whereas the constitution Section 315, Paragraph 1 refers all procurement to an Act of Parliament, which means State Procurement Board must carry out procurement, supervised by government.
Yet, government is an interested party, already elbowing other political parties through the banning of rivals political rallies. So the opposition fears are real, government might temper with the BVR system by choosing its preferred supplier and pre-hack the system or alter the BVR system to its advantage, anything Zanu PF can do to remain in power.
Their to supervise the BVR procurement shows government has some trick up the sleeve and shows that the Zanu PF administration fears free and inclusive elections.
Yet, the Constitution demands the independence of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) whilst at the same time it prescribes that the electoral body chairperson be appointed by the President after ‘consultation’ with relevant authorities.
Even the eight Zec commissioners are appointed by the President from 12 nominees forwarded by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee. So the executive has a lot of influence on Zec through appointing the institution’s top management.
This could be why Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau is taking sides, besides her once serving as a non-constituency Member of Parliament after her appointment by Mugabe.
Again, the opposition is right to suspect Justice Makarau and other commissioners are compromised. It is within their right to seek the dissolution of Zec in order to create an independent organisation under different conditions. Makarau should know that it is evil and damaging to her career to work against the tide for personal gain, and at the expense of the majority suffering Zimbabweans.
Obviously, Justice Makarau is afraid of losing her job. She is also afraid of failing to land the position of Chief Justice whenever it becomes vacant if she does not play along with the demands and requirements of Zanu PF. She may also be afraid of her life or insults from Zanu PF.
So Zanu PF is a menace and many people are afraid.
If integrity is her priority though, Justice Makarau should stand up for the truth and if she won’t, then she should simply resign, rather than be an instrument of oppression, frustrating the will and livelihood of millions of Zimbabweans.
The future will judge her harshly if she after being appointed to carry out justice deliberately performs injustices instead.
Zimbabweans are counting on Zec to level the election field, so she must not frustrate their hopes.
It is, however, the right of the opposition to approach regional and international bodies to file a complaint against the manner in which Zec and particularly the Zanu PF-led government are forestalling the 2018 elections by trying to maintain Zanu PF advantage and control of the people’s destiny.
Yes, pressure should be maintained, because Zanu PF will only want elections to gain legitimacy, and not to give the nation the chance to elect the leaders they prefer.
Zanda Shumba writes in his personal capacity
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