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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Constitutional Court ruling: A ploy to rig elections
    Youth Agenda Trust
    July 05, 2013

    Youth Agenda Trust received the Constitutional Court ruling on the holding of elections on July 31 with shock and disgust and views it as one that is masked by a sinister political agenda and a serious assault on the rights of all Zimbabweans by denying them an opportunity for a credible, free and fair election.

    The ruling only serves to show that the country’s judiciary is not independent but one that is swayed by the whims and caprices of selfish politicians who want to ambush Zimbabweans into a sham election motivated by selfish political interests.

    The court verdict has confirmed widely held beliefs that the country’s judiciary is being held at ransom by power hungry individuals in Zanu-PF who are not interested in a credible and transparent election but a hurried election that does not give the people an opportunity to unmask electoral fraud designed to steal the elections.

    YAT insists that the Thursday court judgment will go down in the history of the country as a black moment that marks the death of constitutional democracy in the country.

    As YAT, we maintain that it is not possible for the country to hold free and fair elections on the 31st of July mainly because of the following issues:

    1) Chaotic voter registration exercise: The voter registration has been deliberately designed to deny bona-fide citizens of this country their right to vote. The voter registration process has been one that has been marred by poor administration and is custom made to frustrate potential registrants. The time that has also been allocated to register is not enough as most people have either failed to cope with the long and winding queues and or have not had time to visit the centres in the short period due to other competing interests.

    2) Poor voter education: Despite the fact that elections are only three and a half weeks away, there has been no serious attempt by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to educate Zimbabweans on the impending plebiscite and their right to vote. As YAT we feel that the information blackout by ZEC has been deliberate and meant to keep unsuspecting citizens in the dark.

    3) Shambolic voters roll: The country’s voters’ roll which is maintained by the registrar general remains the biggest fraud in the electoral history of the country. It is public knowledge that the country’s voters’ roll is a back-up of the death entry register where the dead are abused into manipulating election results. It is also in the public domain that the voters’ roll is being used to mask electoral fraud with a lot people confirming that their names are being deliberately deleted from the list and replaced with imaginary characters. In short, the voters’ roll is not credible.

    4) Political reforms: Among the key reforms outlined in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) are the security sector and media reforms. YAT notes with disappointment that the Zanu PF side of government has continued to shield the security sector from undergoing democratic transformation. Service chiefs who are civil servants continue to undermine other principals to the Global Political Agreement other than President Robert Mugabe buy reiterating that they will not cede power to anyone who is not from Zanu-PF. We maintain that all individuals in the security sector remain answerable to civilian authority and anyone who acts contrary to the dictates of the people is not fit for public office. We therefore feel that unless there is security sector realignment, there will be no free and fair elections to talk about. We also note with dismay the unprofessional conduct of state media which has failed to reform and has continued on a warpath with other political parties that are not Zanu-PF. We particularly refer to the biased media coverage in all news bulletins carried by ZBC and uncouth articles that are being published in the Herald, Chronicle and the Sunday Mail. We feel that until there is fair media coverage in the state media, there is no credible election that we can talk about.

    5) Violence and Intimidation: We also note with disgust violence and intimidation that is being perpetrated mostly in rural communities by youth militia and state agents who are openly campaigning for Zanu-PF. We feel that the use of force and intimidation is a serious issue that threatens the holding of free and fair elections. Until and unless there is peace and tranquility in the country, we cannot talk of free and fair elections.

    6) Manipulation of state resources by Zanu-PF: We have noted that Zanu-PF continues to monopolise state resources by using them to further its interests. We saw the party using officials from the Zimbabwe Republic Police to conduct its primary elections. We maintain that as long as we have a partisan security service and the manipulation of state resources for political gain, we cannot talk about free and fair elections.

    It is because of the reasons mentioned above that makes us believe that we are not ready to hold a credible election. A free and fair election will remain a pipe dream unless these issues are addressed. As Youth Agenda Trust, we demand that:

    1) The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Registrar General’s office conduct a thorough and inclusive voter registration exercise which will enable all Zimbabweans to register to vote and participate in the forthcoming elections.

    2) That the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission conducts a thorough nationwide voter education and also allow civic organisations to conduct voter education so that the forthcoming elections are not held under the cover of darkness but are free and open to the public.

    3) That the registrar of voters allow for the public audit of the voters roll and ensure that people have access to the document before elections are held. We call upon principals to the Inclusive Government to see to it that the voters roll indeed represent the true picture of the country’s electorate.

    4) That all service chiefs should submit to principals of the inclusive government without prejudice and that they should be prepared to respect the will of the people after the July 31 elections. We also demand that all security forces should conduct themselves in line with their constitutional duties.

    5) An end to violence and intimidation and that the Zimbabwe Republic Police should arrest all perpetrators of violence without fear or favour.

    6) State entities to account for all resources entrusted to them by the people and stop associating themselves with political parties. We call upon all state actors to leave politics to politicians and concentrate on serving the people.

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