“For this country to reintegrate into the international community fully and create an environment which creates confidence for investors to come back, it is critical that these (2018) elections are peaceful and lead to an acceptable result which means that there should be a minimal level of transparency and fairness in the system. If you don’t have that you create a new cycle of instability which will scare off investors,” Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, the EU Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe told the The Zimbabwean.
“The conclusion of everybody (European investors) is always the same, they are all charmed by this country and impressed by the potential of this country but they all have the same type of concerns. The legal framework remains very uncertain.”
No thinking Zimbabwean would disagree with that. The billion-dollar question is; how do we remove a well-entrenched corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship that has corrupted every State institution and has a well-organized and well-funded vote rigging juggernaut so the country can finally hold it first ever free, fair and credible elections?
After 36 years of independence the country is nowhere near holding its first free and fair elections. Zimbabweans themselves have struggle to define what constitute free, fair and credible elections and thus agree on what democratic reforms the nation needs to implement. The EU’s policy inconsistences have not helped the people of Zimbabwe.
“What is important is that we continue dialogue with stakeholders to see how we can entrench a democratic culture. Constitutionalism is about aligning the laws to the constitution. It is also about people being aware of the contents of the constitution and what are the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution and knowing what are the consequences of that to their daily lives,” said Van Damme.
This is not helping the people of Zimbabwe for two reasons:
a) No Zimbabwean worth his/her salt has ever argued that aligning existing law with the new 2013 constitution will deliver the free, fair and credible elections because the latter is a weak and feeble constitution that has given the State president “excessive powers with no democratic checks and balances”, according to Senator David Coltart. Just because some of the country’s feeble minded opposition leaders have been calling for this realignment does not mean it is the right solution. The feeble minds failed to implement the reforms during the GNU and insisted the 2013 elections would be free and fair.
b) Everyone else has been calling for the formation of a National Transition Authority or some such independent body to implement the democratic reforms necessary to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship and the vote rigging machinery to ensure the next elections are free and fair. It is shocking that the EU is trusting the Zanu PF regime to implement the reforms.
It is no secret that the EU lifted its targeted sanctions on all the Zanu PF individuals and institutions, all except President Mugabe and his wife Grace, in 2015 not because the Union was ever under any illusions that the July 2013 elections were free and fair. The whole world saw the blatant vote rigging of bussed hooded voters, the regime stubbornly refusing to release the voters roll, etc. The sanctions were lifted out of economic consideration; Belgium, in particular, was desperate to renew trade in Zimbabwe diamonds; and so democratic values were trumped by economic consideration.
Zimbabwe is in serious economic trouble and another failed election in 2018 could send the nation tumbling over the edge into the abyss. This country cannot take any chances; the solution we want MUST deliver free, fair and credible elections.
Anyone, anyone at all, still arguing that realigning the exist laws to a weak constitution and that we should trust this Zanu PF dictatorship to preside over its own demise regime is not a true friend of the longsuffering people of Zimbabwe and must be ignored! We are looking for a way out of this hell and not for yet another quick-fix solution that will drag us even deeper into this hell!
We have the Zanu PF dictatorship being assisted by the Chinese, Israeli and other foreign nations to rig elections, on the one hand. On the other, we have a basketful of corrupt, incompetent and confused Zimbabweans who have failed to get even one reform implemented when they had the golden opportunity to do so. The last thing we want is add the EU in the mix, when all they are doing is muddy the already mudded waters.