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Election roadmap brings new wave of fear
May 15, 2011

The citizens of this country today have suffered enormous violation of civil, political, socio-economic rights. Communities have been marred by a wave of political violence of which the violence has been orchestrated by political pundits who are at the end of subverting justice. Fear has been unveiled again citizens are afraid of the unknown with the much talked about road map for future elections bringing the phobia of political violence to communities because citizens are denied chance to democratically elect leaders. Ostensibly elections must be mechanisms that implement democracy by allowing citizens to chose who may be leaders, thus elections must socialize political activity and provide the opportunity to vote for change and transform sporadic citizen initiated acts like political violence.

There is need for serious lobbying and advocacy for elections to be a weapon that institutionalize access to political power, allow youth and other citizens in Zimbabwe to play a role in electing political leaders. Frantic efforts to be taken will include a constitution that provides a judicious balance between order and freedom, pay attention to equality before the law and media freedom. Political equality and social equality must be prime constitutional values.

Free and fair elections different from 29 March 2008 requires the current constitution being crafted to provide order and freedom, freedom from fear and speech, right to assemble peaceably and freedom of the press, equal representation in the state media and be allowed to petition government. Voting Right Act must be passed and empower the Registrar General to send voter registration supervisors to areas in which fewer than half the minority had registered however a forensic audit be done to provide checks and balances to the voter register. Protectionism must be abolished and promote affirmative action with the culture of equal opportunity, equal outcome and great society. Youth must be encouraged to participate in such national processes like the referendum and elections to influence public opinion and broad public policy. There is however need for referendum and election socialization through which the youth become aware of the referendum and elections, learn elections, political facts and form election values like the acceptance of political defeat, acknowledge political pluralism violence be stopped and tolerance be spread across communities.

Violent intimidation in the past like the 2000 prior to parliamentary elections and 2008 prior to run off subverted the entire democratic process by preventing citizens from exercising their vote freely. Political violence must be discouraged by all stakeholders because what will emerge in future elections is a terrifying picture of a corrupt and increasingly unpopular regime that is prepared to promote violence in order to ruthlessly maintain power hence peaceful elections means a non violent society. Thus the transition to this democratic development shall require many contingent factors like;

  • National democratic movements, forces with conviction and knowledge of indigenous traditions and modern democratic values in which human rights are central.
  • A relative strong non violent state bureaucracy that is funded on principles of good governance, cultural and political pluralism.
  • A judicial system that is independent, neutral politically with high moral values and professional ethics.
  • Law enforcement agencies such as professional military, police and security forces that are conscious of their role in democratic society including respect for civilian authority.
  • A constitutional and legal order which is based on twin principles of secularism and pluralism as the underlying mechanism for ensuring the other elements. This must be achieved to safeguard communities thus mechanisms must be put in place to curb future ferocious and unrelenting offensive attitudes from youths under manipulation by politicians and political parties for selfish political aggrandizement.

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