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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles


  • Intra-party democracy a prerequisite for democratic culture
    Election Resource Centre
    November 05, 2013

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    Introduction

    Zimbabwe’s political parties internal processes have triggered widespread disillusionment about the role of internal party democracy in advancing and building a mature democracy in Zimbabwe. The situation is less celebratory and uncertain because the electoral processes that underline internal party elections across all political parties, is fraught with reports of manipulation, imposition of candidates and all sort of electoral malpractices. These inordinate practices reinforce the pattern of weak institutions for democracy in Zimbabwe, and should be reigned in, fast!

    Background

    The on-going Zanu-PF provincial elections have again brought to the fore the issue of internal party democracy in Zimbabwe. Zanu-PF currently is holding provincial elections, set to elect new provincial structures and the said elections have been marred by allegations of management inconsistencies and vote rigging.

    The allegations surfaced when aspiring candidate for the provincial Chairperson’s post for Manicaland, Monica Mutsvangwa pulled out of the race citing malpractices that have hindered a free and fair contest. She was quoted in the local media as saying;

    “I realized that it was important to withdraw my candidature so that all grey areas in the conduct of the elections are addressed. My team picked up irregularities in almost all the places where voting was taking place, people were being intimidated not to vote for me and the voter’s registration was not in order. The main problem is that the outgoing Chairman, Mvundura is superintending an election in which he is also a candidate and this gives him an unfair advantage over me. Returning officers were impartial. In all districts which I had an upper hand, they were starved of ballot papers.”

    Reports of electoral malpractice have also been raised in the Midlands province, with the losing candidate for the Chairperson’s post, Larry Mavhima, taking up his case with the party’s commissariat department to protest “unfair” practices. He has also alleged “bussing” of voters.

    Suffice to say, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) was also beset by the same challenges as the party prepared for its last elective congress in 2011. The elections to choose provincial leadership structures in the MDC-T prior its congress were divisive, and marred by allegations of vote rigging.

    In fact, the rifts that emerged from these provincial elections have never been repaired. Allegations of vote rigging within the MDC-Ts provincial elections were so severe in Manicaland, Masvingo and Bulawayo; with chances high the cracks emanating from these elections could have affected the party in inculcating a sense of unity ahead of the July 31st elections. There could have been, alongside other factors, of a mismanaged and discredited poll, been its Achilles hills.

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