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The benefits of peaceful, democratic, free and fair elections
Libarators Platform (ZLP)
February 10, 2005
Election day, March
31 will be a political milestone in the history of Zimbabwe considering
the high stakes involved and the controversy surrounding the parliamentary
elections held in 2000.
First, the last parliamentary
and presidential elections were marred by violence, rape, intimidation
and rigging. The consequences, which include political tension, economic
decline, hyperinflation, record unemployment shortage of basic commodities,
diplomatic isolation etc, are still haunting the country today. The unplanned,
chaotic and bloody land invasions as a ZANU PF election campaign strategy
became the root cause of all the problems that followed.
Secondly, since the
last elections, government has been enacting repressive legislation, like
POSA, AIPPA, Broadcasting Services Act, Criminal law (Codification and
Reform) Act and the NGO Bill/Act, whose impact on the country was/is devastating.
Government has been violating human rights and freedoms with impunity,
applying the law selectively, curbing operations of private media practitioners,
closing newspapers, denying opposition parties access to the public media
as well as narrowing political space.
With the adoption
of the Principles and Guidelines governing democratic elections by the
SADC summit in August 2004 in Mauritius, the question of legitimising
the results of the March 31 elections becomes critical If the results
were not recognised by SADC, the African Union and the rest of the worid,
the status quo would remain. However, if everybody declared the results
free and fair, Zimbabwe would be on the road to resolving its socio-economic,
political and humanitarian crisis.
What wouid be the
benefits of peaceful, democratic, free and fair elections? The benefits
wouid be far-reaching and very attractive:
- Political tolerance
and stability which would create the basis for economic, social and
- End of diplomatic
and political isolation, with many invaluable benefits.
- Attraction of foreign
investment leading to the creation of jobs and foreign currency inflows.
- Tourism, boom which
would generate much needed foreign currency.
- Economic regeneration
would create employment, increase exports and trade.
- Bilateral and multilateral
cultural exchanges (information, science. technology, education, research,
- Financial, humanitarian
and other forms of foreign aid inflows (eg HIV/AIDS drugs and victims'
sustenance, loans, debt relief, grants etc).
- Revival of increased
agricultural production and high productivity.
- Revival of infrastructura!
development (roads, dams. boreholes, hospitals, schools, electricity
generation facilities, houses etc).
- Reversal of brain
drain and return of Zimbabweans to develop their country.
- Peace would prevail.
Much more could be achieved in an atmosphere of peace.
- Innovation, scientific
inventions, research and so on.
- Expansion of mass
media houses and abundant sources of information.
fight for political power. But in the process. they should be guided and
driven by people's aspirations, expectations. dreams, needs and wants.
Like other people the world over, Zimbabweans expect the above benefits
for they country, themselves and for posterity.
The Zimbabwe Liberators
Platform wouid like to appeal to government to create a conducive environment
for peaceful, democratic, free and fair elections. Political parties also
bear a heavy responsibility to desist from violence or from inciting violence.
supporters need to be reminded that the victims of political rivalries
between ZAPU and ZANU in the 1960s. 1970s and 1980s. and between ZANU
PF and MDC (2000-2004), died in vain. Their families or the country did
not benefit from their deaths. Do not be used by politicians to kill or
maim your neighbour. You need her/him more than the politician. Preach
peace and pursue it.
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