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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Even football has rules: AU must tell Mugabe
Rights NGO Forum
current election slogan is ‘Bhora mugedhi’. Literally
translated this means let us kick the ball right into the nets.
Such is the level of confidence within Zanu-PF that they will win
the elections decisively. It is not surprising that football terminology
is currently dominating the current campaigns. There is widespread
usage of such terms as ‘bhora musango’ by those who
are opposed to the president from within his party such as Baba
Jukwa. This literally means, ‘let us deliberately miss the
penalty by voting for the opposition'. It is interesting that football
lingual has gripped a nation that is already obsessed with football
thereby providing a dramatic relief in such a tense situation. However,
on a serious note, President Mugabe should know that even football
has rules and this is the message the AU should drive home to him
when Zimbabwe falls for discussion on Friday 19 July in Ethiopia.
So far the President
has not played the game in a fair manner, often behaving like a
competitor but also as a referee, tilting the playfield towards
his side and often clutching onto the ball when the game is not
going according to his plan. Examples of these include the legally
by the Constitutional Court ordering the country’s harmonized
elections to be held by 31 July 2013, a ruling which the court
subsequently upheld in a latter hearing despite SADC’s concerns.
Subsequently President Robert Mugabe fast-tracked changes to electoral
laws on 13 June, using a presidential decree under the provisions
of the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act [PPTM Act], to by-pass parliament
in a bid to comply with a constitutional court order to hold elections
by July 31.
The move did
not only enraged progressive forces and the opposition in the unity
government, but was illegitimate, illegal and unconstitutional.
The PPTM Act itself says that it cannot be used to do by regulation
what the Constitution says must be provided for “by, rather
than in terms of, an Act of Parliament”. And the new Constitution
requires just that: for instance, section 120 refers to elections
“in the manner prescribed in the Electoral
Law”, and the election of Senators having to be “in
accordance with the Electoral Law”, i.e., the Act of Parliament
Further the proclamation
is forcing Zimbabwe into having the first election under its new
Constitution falling short of the principles outlined in section
155 of the new Constitution, such as that all eligible citizens
are registered as voters, all political parties have equal access
to the public media, etc. “The State” – not just
the Executive – is enjoined by section 155 to ensure all these
principles are honoured. ZEC must be given the opportunity to do
its job thoroughly so that all people trust the outcome. The election
timeframe should also take into account Zimbabwe’s obligations,
as a member of SADC, to follow the SADC Guidelines for Elections.
Despite ZEC’s efforts
to register eligible voters thereafter, such measures were not adequate
according to credible reports.
Lately again, the special
voting of the security forces has been dogged by other scandals
and logistical nightmares. According to reports the nightmare cannot
simply be dismissed on logistical grounds. It is deeper than that.
These reliable sources have it that a faction in Zanu-PF is clearly
trying to manipulate the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to
block the special voting process for police officers and civil servants
who are defying superior orders to vote for Zanu-PF.
The signs that the President
is trying to be both a competitor and referee in the same game can
also be seen at how he has been intimidating SADC. The international
community having delegated SADC to supervise the political process,
is facing yet another frustration as the President recently threatened
to show a red card to the referee.
The President has once
again stated that he will defy any AU decision to postpone the election.
He was quoted as saying that if they try to postpone the election,
‘that will never happen with the absolute deceitful British
who are supporting that,” The President continued, “You
can do whatever you want. Your nonsensical talk about transition
in Zimbabwe - there can never be any transition from the rule of
our people to any other. There will be no change to the powers we
gave to the people in 1980. There will never be that nonsensical
transition. Keep it to yourself. Filthy aggressors, leave us alone,”
Mugabe fumed. Again the President is playing the race card to shy
away from his responsibility to comply with the rules of the game.
Britain is and has never been part of the AU and does not prevail
over AU decisions.
In our view, this is
not the time for the AU to play it safe just to avoid offending
elderly states men but it is time for them to rebuke the elders
to play fair in order to leave a legacy of fairness to the younger
generations. The AU members should not pussyfoot or whisper in each
other’s ear but must wield the whistle and show a red card
to those who do not play according to the rules of fairness. This
will demonstrate that its current discourse on African universal
values is more than mere rhetoric.
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