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Briefing paper on the 2008 presidential elections in Zimbabwe
in Zimbabwe Coalition
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Since its inception in August 2001, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
has become one of the critical voices within the civic movement
in Zimbabwe's trajectories of democratic governance and political
accountability. This paper is one in a series, produced periodically
by the Coalition focusing on important issues related to the national
question and progress being made towards the resolution of the national
governance and legitimacy crisis.
Apart from setting the
platform for national dialogue on ZANU PF's bid to postpone
the 2008 presidential elections, this paper also seeks to raise
alarm on the injustices associated with this bid. Section 1 briefly
deals with the genesis of the Zimbabwean crisis, Section II focuses
on the postponement of the 2008 elections vis-a vis the dictates
of the SADC Guidelines governing democratic elections. Lastly Section
III focuses on the role of various stakeholders, e.g. political
parties, CSOs, the academia, the church, media and diplomatic community
etc in aborting ZANU PF's bid to cheat Zimbabweans.
The socio-economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe has intensified
in the past eight years. The crisis deepened following Zimbabwe's
suspension and subsequent withdrawal from the Commonwealth in December
2003 largely because of continued human rights abuses and what appeared
to be a deliberate violation of the Harare principles with regard
to the conditions of the 2002 disputed presidential election.
The democratic governance
deficit identified by the Commonwealth Troika led by Presidents
Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and Prime Minister John Howard of
South Africa, Nigeria and Australia respectively remain largely
unresolved as Zimbabwe approaches another crucial election in 2008,
which the ZANU PF-led government has expressed an intention to postpone.
The ZANU PF conference held in December 2006 recommended to its
Central Committee for both presidential and parliamentary elections
to be postponed to 2010 contrary to the provisions of the constitutional
provisions and without a referendum to get the views of Zimbabweans.
the electoral environment remains largely uneven. Further the government
of Zimbabwe has reneged on promises it made to President Thabo Mbeki
of South Africa regarding the progressive review of Apartheid-style
legislation such as AIPPA
and its commitment to introducing democratic governance. Repressive
laws remain in place in the form of the Criminal
Law Reform and Codification Act, Presidential Powers Temporary
Measures Act, the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, to mention but a few.
The infrastructure of violence - especially the green bombers
- is still intact. Although the youth militia has been demobilized
to give an impression of peace and tranquility prevailing in the
country, their presence within communities is enough intimidation
to the people.
minor and cosmetic changes which the ZANU PF politburo has introduced
such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that is supposed
to independently administer elections, the electoral laws remain
heavily weighted/tilted in favour of the incumbent. The electoral
processes and institutions continue to be militarized or Zanunized.1
refers to a process whereby state institutions are staffed exclusively
by ZANU PF members and sympathizers.
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