Monday, 12 October 2015

Electoral law reforms MDC demanded are "inadequate and incomplete" says Varitas

For the record there some of us who passionately argued that Zimbabwe’s 2013 new constitution was weak and feeble; it would never deliver free, fair and credible elections. Tsvangirai, Biti, Ncube, Coltart and all the other MDC leaders said it would deliver free and fair elections and that nation should vote yes to approve in the March 2013 referendum. Tsvangirai went so far as to call the new constitution an “MDC child”!  

The nation approved it by a staggering 95%. According to Tendai Biti up to 15% of the Yes Vote in the referendum was fraudulent; this was the first sign how much Mugabe and Zanu PF wanted the new constitution approved. The second sign was the boasting by MP Paul Mangwana that it was Mugabe who had “dictated the new constitution”.

So the new constitution was not the democratic constitution every expected it to be, not an “MDC child” but rather a tyrant’s creed.

SADC Heads of State aware that the new constitution was weak and feeble argued MDC to implement the raft of democratic reforms agreed in the 2008 GPA. They even warned MDC not to take part in the elections before the reform are implemented but Tsvangirai and others ignored the warning.

The July 2013 elections proved beyond all doubt that the new constitution was indeed weak and feeble as Mugabe and Zanu PF managed to blatantly rig the vote!

Ever since the rigged July 2013 elections the three MDC factions, MDC-T, MDC (Ncube) and MDC Renewal and now calling themselves People Democratic Party (PDP), involved in the GNU said they would not take part in any future elections until “existing electoral and security sector laws are aligned to the new constitution”.

Given that the new constitution is weak and feeble, whether MDC leaders care to admit it or not is irrelevant what matters is that it is, it was therefore obvious the realignment would not produce the desired results of free, fair and credible elections and all the freedoms and human rights we are seeking. It really did not make any sense wasting time and money pursuing this route.

The best and only option was to revert back to the raft of reform in 2008 GPA and implement all these reforms.

The first supporting evidence that the realigning the existing laws would not deliver the democratic changes came from Tawanda Chimhini the Director of Electoral Resource Centre (ERC) who together with 17 other local Zimbabwean NGOs supported the realignment route. They had been lobbying parliament to amend the necessary laws.

"As a democracy, we need to grow and the electoral reforms that we are proposing are not a threat to anybody," explain Tawanda Chimhini when quizzed on what kind reforms ERC was seeking.

The raft of democratic reforms proposed in the 2008 GPA were definitely a serious threat to Mugabe and Zanu PF because they were designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship which had usurped the people’s democratic freedoms and rights for selfish political gain including the right to a meaningful vote and even the right to life. So the reforms ERC and MDC are pushing for will not “a threat” to Mugabe and Zanu PF only if they will not dismantle the dictatorship!

If there were any doubting Thomas still out there who still believed there was anything to be gained from re-aligning the existing laws as contrast to implementing the raft of reforms in the GPA this extract from Angus Shaw’s report in The Zimbabwean should finally settle this matter.

“Proposed amendments to the crucial Electoral Act now before the Zimbabwe parliament are “inadequate and incomplete,” reports the admirable group Veritas, an independent  local think tank on legal matters,” reads Shaw’s report.

“On the existing media laws, Veritas says it is doubtful that they can ever be aligned with the constitution. “What is certain is that the General Laws Amendment Bill does not even try to do so,” says the group. Ideally, laws that make “abuse of freedom of expression a criminal offence” should be repealed and completely redrafted to comply with the new constitution.

“Amendments proposed in the Defence Act mean it will “remain unconstitutional in several important respects,” says Veritas.

“The list of flaws in the General Laws Amendment Bill is legion. Since those disputed elections in 2013, no-one in Mr Mugabe’s ruling party, it appears, can either be bothered or find the will to adhere to the nation’s supreme law.”

The title of Angus Shaw’s article is “Dysfunctional Zimbabwe” and in all honesty, who can deny that.

If MDC had implemented all the GPA reforms and drafted a wholesome democratic constitution we would have had free, fair and credible elections in July 2013 and everyone would be enjoying their freedoms and basic rights. It is most unfortunate that Tsvangirai et al failed to implement even one single 2008 GPA reform in five years of the GNU.

What matters now is that we realize the choices before us; either to go down the route of re-aligning the existing knowing fully well, Veritas has confirmed this, that these reforms will never deliver the democratic changes we want. We will per se accept our present status as a dysfunctional nation and worse still condemn future generation to the same.

Or demand the implementation of all the 2008 GPA reforms and finally secure our freedoms and rights including the right to our first free, fair and credible elections and the right to life itself. Our ability to finally do something to address the corruption, mismanagement and lawlessness behind the economic meltdown is totally dependent, first and foremost, on us ending the country’s corrupt and tyrannical system of government.

We must demand that Mugabe and Zanu PF step down to allow the implementation of the 2008 GPA reforms. The regime has had two years since the rigged July 2013 to implement the watered electoral reforms and yet it has done nothing, the regime not bothered or lacks the will. It will be very naïve therefore to expect the regime to find the will to fully implement the tougher 2008 GPA reforms. Mugabe and Zanu PF must be pressured to step down so an independent body is appointed to implement the GPA reforms.  


Zimbabwe Light said...

@ Mudhara

You should think outside the box; just because Mugabe is corrupt and ruthless tyrant does not mean that everyone else around him is clean. Tsvangirai and Mujuru are corrupt and incompetent and they have proven so beyond all reasonable doubt. It would be naïve, indeed irresponsible, for any thinking Zimbabweans to concentrate exclusively on Mugabe and getting him out and not think of who we will have to take his place as if we cannot have him out and have him replace with a competent leader too.

I want to see Mugabe go, have the GPA reforms implemented and out of the new democratic dispensation elect competent men and women who will then take this great nation out of this hell. I totally refuse to be steam rolled into accepting corrupt and incompetent village idiots like Tsvangirai and Mujuru who have already proven that they are village idiots as the only leaders to replace Mugabe.

Zimbabwe Light said...

@ Moses

It is easy to see why whites called blacks Boy or Girl regardless how old the blacks are. To the white all blacks had the mental capacity of a boy or girl and they never mentally grew beyond that. What is heart breaking is that Zanu PF leaders not only became the new ruling elite after independence but they also assumed that they are superior, mentally, to the rest of the blacks.

People like Muzenda grovelled to Mugabe and they expected the rest of us to grovel to not just Mugabe but to him too. If Zanu PF nominated anyone into a position of power people like Muzenda expected us the people to accept whoever it is without ever asking any question.

It does not matter how Zanu PF has failed we are nonetheless still expected to accept the party's leaders as our superiors and be thankful they are there to lead. I agree it is high time we stood up to these Zanu PF morons and told them in no uncertain terms that enough is enough!

Zimbabwe Light said...

She is just building sand castles; Zanu PF is unelectable and has had to rely on rigging the vote to stay in power doing so next time is going to be near impossible given that the party will have Mujuru supporters who will only too eager to kiss and tell! If Grace goes ahead and kick Mnangagwa in the teeth then she will have no one to rig the election for the party!

Zimbabwe Light said...

@ Tawanda

Zanu PF has treated the people as if they are helpless children who cannot be trusted to think for themselves and many Zimbabweans our part have allowed this. We have never held Mugabe and Zanu PF to account because a child cannot hold an adult to accept! We need to be assertive and show we can think for ourselves and to question what the regime is doing and most important of all demand the restoration of our right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and to hold the leaders to account.

Zimbabwe Light said...

@ Patrick

Zanu PF never developed anything to explain what we were fighting for, how we would de-liver it to all, etc. President Kwame Nkrumah may have failed to live up to his ethos and empower the people by granting them their political rights and freedoms but at least he had care-fully thought about what independence really meant. The same can never be said about leaders like Mugabe.

The only thing Mugabe has ever thought about is power; he has sort absolute power and how to retain it at all cost. He has denied the people of Zimbabwe their freedoms and basic human rights including the right to a meaningful vote and even the right to life itself in pursuit of his selfish goal of absolute power.

It was Zanu PF and the nation’s at large failure to define what kind of political system we wanted that has allowed tyrants like Mugabe to willy-nilly change the goal post again and again to suit his selfish end. Today we are fighting for free, fair and credible elections and it is the tyrant himself whom we are fighting against!

The man fighting to deny the people their political rights is none other than the very man who has stood up again and again to claim that he and his Zanu PF colleagues are the freedom fighters who liberated this nation. Zimbabwe finds itself in this unenviable position where yesterday’s liberators have, unashamedly, become today’s oppressors!

To pretend, as Mr Musewe is arguing us to, this nation can emerge out of this hell-hole and even prosperous economically even though the overwhelming majority of our people remain little more than slaves with no political power or rights is a falsehood that we must reject with the contempt it rightly deserves.

We must now implement the democratic reforms agreed in the 2008 GPA and hold free, fair and credible elections without further ado!