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“We are preparing to participate in the 2018 elections and we are very categorical about it,” Tsvangirai told journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Friday night.
“What we are saying is that when we go to that election, it must give the people the confidence that the election will not be usurped like the 2013 one.” OK we definitely want free and fair elections; go on!
“We are participating in the 2018 elections and we are very confident that obstacles that were placed in our way before will be removed by the time we go to the polls.”
Implementing the reforms during the GNU was a relatively easy task because MDC had the majority in parliament and cabinet, had the backing of SADC and Mugabe had his hands tied behind his back since he had agreed to the reforms by signing the 2008 GPA. Sadly MDC failed to get even one reform implemented. Not one!
Now that the GPA has expired and Zanu PF has more than a commanding two thirds majority in both parliament and the senate the task of getting meaningful democratic reforms implemented now is a real challenge. If implementing the reforms during the GNU was climbing an anthill it is climbing Mount Everest now! So Tsvangirai’s “very confident” claim to have the task done is clearly the five year old in him talking although he has no clue what he is talking about!
Tsvangirai and his MDC friends should have implemented the raft of democratic reforms agreed in the 2008 GPA designed to end the Zanu PF strangle hold on Police, ZEC, Public Media, Judiciary, etc. freeing them to carry out their public duties freely and effectively. MDC failed to get even one meaningful reform implemented in five years of the GNU. SADC and other people warned MDC leaders of the critical importance of the implementing the reforms but they paid no heed.
MDC did not see the need to implement any reforms because the party was confident of winning the elections “regardless of any Zanu PF election shenanigans”, Tsvangirai latter admitted. MDC had grossly underestimated Zanu PF’s ability to rig elections!
If anyone thought that Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had learnt an important lessons about implementing reforms after Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the July 2013 elections; he/she was wrong, MDC learnt nothing. Since the rigged elections MDC has grudgingly accepted that for free and fair elections the nation must implementing reforms but trust the five-year old in Tsvangirai to get totally confused on which reforms to implement.
Instead of sticking with the structural reforms agreed in the 2008 GPA, MDC-T has been wittering about electoral law reforms! MDC have been calling for ZEC to take over control of the voters roll from the Registrar General, for example. Without the structural reform necessary to ensure ZEC’s independence it is obvious Zanu PF will still interfere with the compilation of the voters roll as before.
“As an electoral management body official, it is good news as it reflects a vote of confidence in the electoral reform processes done so far. We have taken charge of the voters’ roll from the registrar general,” commented ZEC Official, Qhubani Moyo.
“We have also introduced marker pens and not ink dipping. We are preparing for biometric voter registration. That is how far we have gone so far, but we still have a few more things to do and we are happy that people are already happy.”
The comment must be dismissed with the contempt it rightly deserves. As ZEC Official he should know the 2013 elections were blatantly rigged under the noses of ZEC officials. The number of Polling Stations were increased from 2 000 to 9 000 just two day before polling day. There is no doubt that even ZEC was surprised with that move since some of the additional Polling Station had no ZEC officials!
If ZEC was serious about making sure the elections were free, fair and credible then why did the Commission allow the elections to go ahead without a voters roll? Even to this day, nearly three years after the July 2013 elections there is still no complete voters roll.
What is required to restore confidence in ZEC are the structural reforms designed to end the presidential powers to appointment and firing of commissioners, starve ZEC of funds, etc. and restore its independence and accountability. None of the reforms Moyo is talking about here will restore ZEC’s independence and accountability in any way!
What the people of Zimbabwe must understand is that we cannot afford yet another rigged election in 2018 because that will mean the economic meltdown we are currently facing will continue. Only a government elected in free, fair and credible elections will have the mandate to tackle the teething national problems of mismanagement, corruption and lawlessness and will have the confidence of the international community that Zimbabwe is now stable and law abiding nation they can do business with.
However, if we are going to have free, fair and credible elections, it is the people themselves who must take up the challenge from the inapt opposition parties to demand the full implementation of the 2008 GPA reforms BEFORE the next elections. Source: Wilbert Mukori