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Military factor influencing Zimbabwe polls

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2019 at 10:28hrs | Views
MILITARY influence, fractured political parties and a rigid legal approach in dealing with electoral issues have been singled out as some of the major reasons the July 30, 2018 general elections failed to meet the expectations of the international community.

Electoral expert Solomon Mungure, speaking at a Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) post-elections stakeholders' conference in Bulawayo yesterday, suggested that a lot more needed to be done before Zimbabwe rushed for polls.

The army staged a coup in November 2017, a few months before the watershed general elections, ousting then President Robert Mugabe while the ruling Zanu-PF party replaced him with Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"If, for instance, a year ago we had removed Mugabe on the basis of poor governance and the tool for removal was the military, had the military changed enough to tolerate an election instead of their restore legacy approach?" Mungure asked.

"So if they had not changed, why did we go to vote, because their stakes were still there in the open?"

Mungure said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) was too rigid and too legal on matters that just needed common sense.

He cited the Chegutu West parliamentary election results which saw Zanu-PF's Dexter Nduna being declared winner despite results showing that he had actually lost.

"So the election results had been inverted and Zec admits that the numbers have been twisted. So do we need to go to law or we need just to be honest and do the right thing as a nation?" Mungure said.

Traditional leaders were also brought into the matrix, being accused of violating the Constitution by openly backing Zanu-PF in the elections.

Lawyer Dereck Matyszak said amending the Electoral Act was not sufficient, but instead, Parliament was supposed to just come up with a new law that would be in sync with the Constitution.

"This call of aligning laws to the Constitution is wrong because all laws that are not in line with the Constitution are null and void. There is no aligning of something that is null. So the Electoral Act has to be done away with and a new one brought up," he said.

Source - newsday