The two by-elections, the Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe and Mt Darwin, have shown that Zimbabwe will never ever hold free, fair and credible elections until we implement the democratic reforms agreed in 2008 Global Political Agreement. There was no real pressure for Zanu PF to “win” the two seat and yet there was still all the signs the party would have blatantly rig these by-elections just as it rigged the July 2013 elections if it wished!
In the 27 March 2015 by-elections, some people were allowed to use voter registration slip issued in 2013 to vote. The immediate question is why has the voters roll not been up dated for more than two years?
Back in July 2013 many people had complained about the large number of voters who had these registration slips particularly given the equally large numbers of voters bussed in to vote. The potential of bussing in voters from one constituency to the next and one polling station to another casting multiple votes each time cannot be discounted. Indeed this becomes perfectly logical given that no one knew how many voters are in each constituency because no voters roll was ever produced. The law demands that a voters roll must be produced but even to this day no voters roll was ever released for the 2013 elections.
A voters roll was produced for the 27 March by-elections but even then Nikuv, the Israeli company employed to tamper with the voters roll in the 2013 elections, replaced an initial voters roll just days before voting started. No explanation was given.
There were reports of voters being “frog matched” to polling stations and Mnangagwa himself has boosted during the by-election campaigning that Zanu PF may not know when one dies but it will know how the individual voted.
“We know that each polling station has its own results, we will want to know from each polling station where the people would have come from and how did they get in. What we might fail to know is how death will come, but anyone who is voting we can trace the pattern because they have one,” he said.
It is standard practice for villagers to “frog matched” to the polling station by a Zanu PF headman and instructed to vote for Zanu PF. Those the party suspect may not vote for the party are instructed to pretend they cannot read and write so a party official will then see to it that they put the X in the right box. Even school teachers have been known to make such claims.
As stated above, there was no real pressure for Zanu PF to “win” back these two by-elections seats since the party has a clear majority in parliament already and yet the elections still had all the hallmarks of voter intimidation and clear opportunities to rig the vote.
There four things the people of Zimbabwe must understand here:
a) Zimbabwe‘s economic meltdown cannot be separated from the country’s political system; they two are the two sides of the same coin. The nation has failed to do anything to end the gross mismanagement, the rampant corruption and the lawlessness and obnoxious indigenisation laws – root causes behind the economic meltdown and failure to attract foreign investors and donors – because Mugabe and Zanu PF simply refused to accept these were the root causes and therefore would not accept any policy changes.
In a healthy and functional democracy Mugabe and Zanu PF’s refusal to deal with mismanagement, etc. would not have mattered because the nation would have replaced the regime at the next elections. Zimbabwe is not a healthy and functional democracy, there are no free, fair and credible elections; there is no regime change. No regime change has meant being stuck with whatever economic policy the regime in power imposed; this is why only end the economic meltdown is by first ending the political system stopping regime change.
b) We need to implement ALL the democratic reforms agreed in the 2008 Global Political Agreement as necessary for free, fair and credible elections. These reforms should have been implemented by Zanu PF and the MDC factions, the partners in the 2008 to 2013 GNU. Sadly not even one reform was ever implemented.
c) Mugabe and Zanu PF were able to blatantly rig the 2013 election and the party was able to do so again in the just ended by-elections although the party was not under any real pressure to “win”. Except for one or two Zanu PF member like former Minister Fortune Chisa who have admitted to elections “irregularities” the rest will stick to the line the elections are free, fair and credible.
If we want free, fair and credible elections we will have to fight Zanu PF to get the democratic reforms implemented.
d) MDC have been calling for “electoral reforms” to be implemented including “aligning existing electoral laws to the country‘s new constitution” without giving any more details. The nation must reject this proposal out right because Zanu PF would want to go down this route knowing fully well that without implementing the reforms the new constitution is too weak to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
After the wasted five years of the NGU the nation will be have another chance to get the critical reforms for free and fair elections implemented; we cannot afford to get it wrong again!