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Mr. Mugabe, listen to me: No elections without reforms, period
Rejoice Ngwenya
April 08, 2013

I have, since 1999, at selected occasions worked with both Professor Welshman Ncube and Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai in the struggle for legitimate regime change. They mean well for oppressed citizens of Zimbabwe. But in attempting to do the best for us, they must not be deceived by the so-called March 16 peaceful constitutional referendum. The stubbornly arrogant ZANU-PF dictatorship still has at its disposal enough political toxins to inflict a mortal blow on our bid for genuine emancipation.

Mr. Mugabe insists on a June 2013 plebiscite at the expiry of the current Parliament’s term. I am elated that Professor Ncube informed Jakaya Kikwete how Mugabe has missed by a mile the legal connotation of rushed proclamations. Mr. Tsvangirai also shows positive signs of agitation with ZANU-PF’s schizophrenic demands. However, writing letters to SADC and gate-crushing into courts is no panacea, especially when dealing with a deranged dictatorship. The right thing is to de-construct the myth of Mugabe’s constitutional superiority. Like Jerry Thompson’s forays into the Ku Klux Klan, expose and erode ZANU-PF’s superficial self-esteem.

We the people will vote, so we must fearlessly resist attempts to be stampeded into an election whose results are predetermined by ZANU-PF. The two MDC leaders must get off their leather-padded seats and visit the villages. There is a massive captive audience that needs to know what truly free and fair elections mean. Instead of wasting valuable time on electoral manifestos, explain to villagers what laws need to be adjusted to suit the New Constitution. Tell them it is impossible to have a credible voter registration exercise within ZANU-PF’s timeline. Will they be happy to know that the same Tobaiwa Mudede who crafted the 2008 Voters Roll is still involved? Are the villagers aware why Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Public Order Security Act (POSA) must be repealed to enable free communication and assembly? Tell the villagers that Zimbabwe Election Commission is staffed with ZANU-PF cronies and that we need community broadcasters in every province, including licencing exiled SW Radio, Studio 7 and VoP radio stations.

Remind them that banning NGO work in villages, arrest of their leaders and lawyers like Beatrice Mtetwa is part of a broader agenda of intimidatory tactics to neutralise Human Rights Defenders and cow them into involuntary compliance. The villagers must know that when The Herald and ZBC insult MDC leaders, it’s meant to erode the value of democracy. In order to perpetuate high level ZANU-PF electoral corruption, officials of the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission are arrested and intimidated.

The villagers should know that if key state institutions responsible for the administration of justice are transformed from being biased towards ZANU-PF, innocent MDC leaders will not languish in police cells. Tell them of the ZANU-PF Chipangano; al Shabab terror groups who are agents of political violence but freely roam the streets of Mbare and Mbizo. The villagers should know that closure and disbandment of torture camps will enable rural citizens to assembly and vote freely. The army, police and ZANU-PF militia must remain confined in their barracks. Besides, if JOMIC is not permitted to function as per the Global Political Agreement, how can there be peace in the villages when perpetrators like Jabulani Sibanda are not brought to book? Professor Welshman Ncube and Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai should ultimately warn Mugabe he risks a massive, unprecedented popular resistance if he forces an election without all these key electoral reforms.

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