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Democracy & Community Human Rights Watch - Issue 4
Zimbabwe Organization For The Youth In Politics
January 29, 2013

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The Blinding Tide of Elections

The tide of elections if fast rising with each and every passing hour in Zimbabwe with regional and international community growing more interested in the turn of events.

It is inevitable and fitting that Zimbabwe should finally go for polls especially with the collapse of the Global Political Agreement. The GPA facilitated the consummation of the government of national unity under a tripartite arrangement. It is flatly discernible that the country is in an election mode both at intra and inter party levels.

The election talk has swelled to the extent of overshadowing all other important political aspects of national importance like the constitution making process and a wide array of reforms as espoused in the Global Political Agreement.

This drives me to the critical aspect of this piece. Let us not forget so fast what led to the coalition government we are in currently.

There are various reasons though largely tied to electoral contestations of the presidential election of 2008. The election was marked by disturbing delays in announcement of the election result hence fuelling political violence of shocking magnitudes. Many people lost their lives, some were maimed, some fled the country and some lost their properties in the electoral madness pitting MDCT's Tsvangirai's and President R.G Mugabe representing ZANU-PF. These two were the centre of the contest although there were others in the presidential aspirants.

It cannot be disputed that the GNU has done the best it could under very tough circumstances but it is also factual that it can no longer continue beyond 2013 as the country risk reversing the gains that accrued this far.

Of importance to recognize and address are the electoral challenges of the past elections which in a way pulled the country into chaos and disorder.

Some of the reforms that Zimbabwean should make sure are implemented before we go for polls are as follows:

  • Constitutional reform - The completion of a new constitution
  • Media reforms - especially the public media which should carry its mandate free from political pressure. The public media has been subverted into a political party mouthpiece while riding on hate speech and hate language.
  • Security sector re-alignment - The politicization of the security forces has played a key role in the electoral processes hence the need to make sure that the security forces remain a credible and reliable national force serving the interests of the public.
  • Electoral reforms - Legitimization of the Zimbabwe Election Commission into a fully independent electoral body.
  • Legislative reforms - the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) have been effectively used to disadvantage opposition party supporters. There should be clear election management procedures to mitigate issues of electoral fraud - Local and external observers should be able to do their work freely.

This will somehow assist in leveling the electoral field and pave way for a 'transparent' election in which the vote and the voter remain safe and free from political manipulation. Electoral disagreements have been key to post election violence.

Zimbabweans should not been rushed to an election whose outcome would not bear any semblance of legitimacy while jeopardizing their lives. Recently reports in a local press indicate that some terror bases in Mberengwa have resurfaced as the election talk gathers momentum. The constitution should be completed to allow the election to be held in an environment that is regulated. There is need to transfer voter registration exercise from the Registrar General's Office to the Zimbabwe Election Commission where it falls under. All election related election issues should fall under the rightful commission to avoid the glaring voter's roll errors currently existing.

Elections are surely coming. There are no two ways about it. Political parties have exchanged words and the stage has been set but like we all know, when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers most.

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