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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Zimbabwe Election Conference Special Briefing
in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
July 16, 2013
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headed towards another Global Political Agreement?
set to go for a General
Election on the 31st of July 2013, two weeks from now, despite
that the environment is still not conducive for the holding of free
and fair (Feya Feya) elections. Possible scenarios continue to emerge
as articulated by Professor Brian Raftopolous, Professor Sabelo
J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Dr Ibbo Mandaza at a Zimbabwe Elections Conference,
which preceded the Public Launch of the Feya Feya Campaign in Johannesburg
on Saturday, 13 July 2013.
a conference organized by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in partnership
with South African Council of Churches [SACC], Human Rights Institute
of South Africa [HURISA], Congress of South African Trade Unions
[COSATU] and the South African Forum for International Solidarity
[SAFIS] on Zimbabwe elections in Johannesburg on the 13th of July
2013, Professor Raftopolous, who is the current Chairperson of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition SA board, suggested to an audience
of over 100 participants drawn from South African based and SADC
solidarity partners and representatives of Zimbabwe diaspora civil
society organizations from the SADC region and political formations,
that there are three possible scenarios to emanate from the forthcoming
A Zanu-PF victory
coming through Zanu-PF riding on a restructured political economy,
the threat of violence and rigging. Prof Raftopolous views this
scenario as the most likely based on the Inclusive
Government’s failure to fully implement political and
institutional reforms in accordance with the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), hence Zanu-PF is able to manipulate
the electoral process to ensure its victory.
An MDC [led
by Morgan Tsvangirai] outright victory, which however, faces resistance
from the military. Professor Raftopolous intimated that an election
under the obtaining environment would block the transfer of power.
Again, this sits as a likely scenario.
The third possible
scenario is a possibility of another negotiated settlement as the
country may have another hung parliament. This scenario emanates
from a totally disputed election marred by intimidation and violence.
This is likely to force intervention by SADC and the African Union
(AU) and another negotiated settlement will be the solution.
views, on the most likely scenario that sees a Zanu-PF victory through
stealing the election, resonate with some political analysts’
views predicting a stolen election through the use of subtle means
such as the manipulation of the voter registration exercise, lack
of media and security reforms, amongst other crucial reforms.
the same platform, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, Director of Harare based policy
Trust, argued that contrary to submissions that Zanu-PF still
had a social base, the party had instead lost this social base over
the years. He pointed out that the survival of Zanu-PF was purely
on the basis of its reliance on an unevenly strong state. “Zanu-PF’s
only social base is the state; powerful disproportionate state which
controls the media and the security”, said Mandaza. He argued
that 60% of the newly registered voters were likely to vote against
Zanu-PF given the tendency for new voters to vote against the incumbent.
He argued that Mugabe has won elections by rigging since 1996.
postulated that the stakes are so high that if elections are allowed
to be rigged, the outcome will result in violence, chaos and the
poll will be disputed hence a possible military coup, forcing regional
and international intervention and the possibility of another GPA.
accusations that the election in Zimbabwe has already been rigged,
Dr. Mandaza argued that it is not enough to say that elections were
rigged but for both local and international observers to more importantly
expose the methods used by showing how and where elections were
rigged. He argued that Mugabe had lost the past elections since
1996, but remained in power through perfecting the art of rigging,
whose legacy Zimbabwe is still stuck with even today. Dr Mandaza
further noted that if the art of rigging, which remains the sole
survival kit for Zanu-PF, is exposed and in the absence of any method
to ensure their victory, Zanu-PF may call off the elections by unleashing
violence and chaos to disrupt the process. Mandaza argued that this
a high stakes election where Zanu-PF actors individually or collectively
could not let go. Thus a rigorous scrutiny of the electoral process
is needed to get Zanu-PF out of office.
On timing of
the election, Dr Mandaza stressed that it is not too late to postpone
the election if the conditions are not allowing for a free and fair
election. He argued that postponing the election would mean sticking
to the letter and spirit of the SADC election roadmap and implementation
of all outstanding reforms to enable the holding of an undisputed
free and fair election.
Based on three
themes, namely (1) history and memory, (2) stakes and issues and
(3) imagination of the future, Professor Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni,
Head of the Archie Mafeje Research Institute of the University of
South Africa (UNISA), affirmed that given the prevailing conditions
on the ground, Zimbabwe cannot expect conditions for free and fair
elections in the remaining two weeks. “What we will instead
have is something between the botched 2008 election and a free and
fair election only in the future,” said Prof Ndlovu-Gatsheni.
the need to make this election an issue based election as he expressed
worry on the manifestos of political parties and what they are bringing
to the people’s table. He urged Zimbabweans to seriously consider
what these political parties are promising to avoid a “choiceless
democracy” after elections. Professor Ndlovu also expressed
worry on the fact that most people seem to believe that the holding
of the forthcoming election will be the end of Zimbabwe’s
problems, yet, in his view, they should be a stepping stone towards
democracy. He concluded by posing the following questions, “what
is the future of Zimbabwe beyond the elections, what are political
parties’ election manifestos saying, do we want a situation
where we will have another dominant party syndrome?”
at the conference emphasized the importance and need for regional
and international solidarity on Zimbabwe to be scaled up in preparation
for a most likely inconclusive [in the fight for democratization]
election the country is headed towards.
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