Thursday, 19 January 2017

ZPP call on ZEC "execute its responsibilities" after by-election shooting.

The political situation in the Bikita West by-elections is so bad there is no way anyone can consider this a free, fair and credible election. No way!

“The situation in Bikita West is cause for concern as the rights of the electorate are being flagrantly violated,” wrote Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) in their latest report. “The constituency has reported threat to life, physical violence, partisan food distribution, vote buying, deployment of soldiers, unwarranted voter assistance and intimidation by traditional leaders.  There are disturbing reports where the right to personal security of a candidate has been violated.

“The National Constitutional Assembly candidate, Maddock Chivasa, was assaulted and his election agent, Thomas Mudzamiri, sustained gunshot injuries. Perpetrators are alleged to be Zanu PF supporters who were bussed in from Marondera.”

People being threatened, denied food aid and being shot at; we had heard of these things before and yet one cannot help but be shocked to hear each new case. Zimbabwe’s culture of vote rigging and politically motivated violence is a permanent fixture of our body politics and, like a migraine headache, you never ever get used to it.

What makes Zimbabwe’s culture of vote rigging and political violence even more unbearable is that we know the cure but will not take the medicine because those entrusted to do the assessment of the nation’s ills are time and time again coming out with the wrong diagnosis and proscribe the wrong medicine.

“ZPP believes it is the responsibility of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to address deficits in the environment and duly execute its responsibilities and bring to book parties that are perpetrating pre-election violence,” said the report.

Does ZPP really believe that ZEC, as it is presently constituted, can meaningfully “address” all the commission’s electoral deficits and guarantee free, fair and credible elections!

ZPP should know that the real ZEC; like all the other state institutions like the Police, Army, CIO, Judiciary, Public Media, Human Rights Commission, etc., etc.; has been corrupted, politicized and compromised. The commission lost its independence and political impartiality a long time ago, it is now a department of Zanu PF in all but name.

ZEC, as a Zanu PF department in all but name, is there help ensure there is no regime change and since it is impossible to deliver no regime change and free, fair and credible elections at the same time the commission has always placed Zanu PF’s selfish political interest about public interests. Zimbabwe is a multi-party democracy on paper only but a de facto one-party dictatorship in practice.

If ZPP or anyone is serious about ending Zimbabwe’s culture of vote rigging and violence and hold free, fair and credible elections then the country must implement the democratic reforms designed to sever dictatorial controls Zanu PF has created over ZEC and all the other public institutions. SADC spelt out these raft of democratic reforms, sadly the Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara GNU failed to get even one reform implemented in five years.

It is na├»ve to expect ZEC, Police, etc. as they are presently constituted to act in a none partisan way in carrying out their democratic electoral duties.  To stop Zanu PF rigging the vote and committing the violence we must implementing the democratic reforms and get on with it.

SADC leaders literally begged Tsvangirai and his MDC friends not to take part in the 2013 elections without implementing the reforms first because they knew Zanu PF would rig the elections – and Zanu PF rigged the elections. How many more sad stories of people being intimidated, beaten or worse for selfish political gain do we want to hear before we will finally accept we must implement the reforms first before holding any more elections!

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