The task before us today is to demand the implementation of all the democratic reforms BEFORE the next elections. There are those who would want the nation to think the country can still have free and fair elections without the reforms, they are fooling themselves and povo.
"The campaign is against political candidates who promote violence and abuse political power and influence to perpetrate violence. Heal Zimbabwe (HZ) notes that the campaign is a positive step as it adds a voice on the need for violence free elections. The move by the church is most welcomed by HZ because it complements the Organisation's own initiative which is the 13 Million Voices for Peace Campaign for a peaceful environment in Zimbabwe before during and after the 2018 election. The campaign is running under the hashtag #13Milvoices4Peace," said the trust.
"HZ joined other stakeholders at the Christian Vote Campaign as a way of reiterating its Commitment to working on peacebuilding and social cohesion in the Country. Working with various key stakeholders, HZ continue to encourage key Stakeholders such as the Youth, War Veterans, Traditional leaders, politicians, women, the church and security services to come together to pledge and commit to campaign for peaceful 2018 elections."
This is all very well but, and it is a big BUT, are HZ people really saying we should abandon the pursuit of implementing the democratic reforms designed to restore the democratic powers of key institution like the Police, ZEC, the Judiciary, a free Public Media, etc. in favour of these peace and voter registration campaigns?
It is the work of the Police to keep law and order. It is the task of ZEC to deliver a clean voters’ roll and free and fair elections, etc. These institutions have failed to carry out their statutory tasks in the past because Zanu PF has eroded and corrupted them to suit its own selfish one party state agenda.
In 2008 election the nation and the world at large hard first-hand experience of just how rotten our Sate institution are. SADC leaders managed to get President Mugabe to sign an agreement agreeing to a raft of democratic reforms. The reforms, properly implemented, would have restored the independence and effectiveness of the Police, ZEC, etc.
SADC leaders warned MDC leaders not to contest the 2013 elections without implemented the reforms first. Tsvangirai and company ignored the warning and we all know the disastrous consequences of that folly.
No meaningful reforms were implemented since the rigged July 2013 elections. It is will be mad to go through yet another election with no reforms in place next year. It is for us, Zimbabweans, not SADC or anyone else, to make sure the reforms are implemented before elections are held.
Those involved in these voter mobilisation and peace campaigns must be absolutely clear in their own minds that they are, by their actions, saying their activities will deliver the free and fair elections we are seeking and therefore we do not need the reforms. Voter mobilisation, etc. are much easier to deal with than demanding the reforms and so one cannot deny their appeal to most people. However, I, for one, do not believe these activities will deliver free and fair elections.
Even if the voter mobilisation and peace campaigns deliver the free and fair elections this time we will have to do these thing afresh for each election because as long as the ruling party of the day has the excessive powers to abuse the Police, ZEC, etc. to consolidate its grip on power it will do so.
There is no substitute to implementing the reforms. All these voter registration and campaigning for peaceful elections is, at best, just one of those kicking the can down the street activities. We have been kicking this “can” of free and fair elections down the street for 37 years now we have gain nothing, have paid dearly for it in terms of having a corrupt regime ruining all our lives and the task of implementing the reforms is even tougher now than ever.