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'Independence without credible polls hollow'

by Staff reporter
20 Apr 2020 at 08:43hrs | Views
INDEPENDENT electoral watchdog, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) says it is regrettable that Zimbabwe on Saturday celebrated 40 years of independence at a time the country's electoral cycles are still marred by reports of rigging among other electoral malpractices.

Zimbabweans celebrated independence on Saturday under the theme "Zim @40Defining the Decade Towards the Golden Jubilee," and for the first time since 1980 there were no public celebrations owing to COVID-19.

Government called off this year's public celebrations scheduled for Babourfields Stadium in Bulawayo owing to the global pandemic which has to date claimed three lives and infected 25 in the country.

"Despite the fact that Zimbabwe conducts regular elections every five years, elections have been disputable, controversial and marred with allegations of vote manipulation," Zesn said.

"Zesn reiterates that there is need for government and political parties to create a conducive environment that ensures that the basic pillars of democracy are upheld such as respect for the rights of all political parties; respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from whom authority to govern is derived; the orderly transfer of power following elections; and transparency, justice, accountability, and responsiveness."

Opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa still insists President Emmerson Mnangagwa rigged his way to victory in the July 2018 polls. Chamisa insists any talks between him and the President to solve the country's multi-faceted crisis should also major on the legitimacy question.

"In its pursuit of a Zimbabwe where democratic election principles are upheld, Zesn restates its call for comprehensive timeous strengthening of gains registered to date in improving the quality of elections by fully aligning electoral laws with the Constitution, further strengthening the independence of Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission)..." Zesn added.

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Community Based Organisations (ACBOs) said the nation was still grappling with a socio-economic and political crisis 40 years after independence and called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

"Unjust institutional structures coupled with destructive socio-economic policies which are further compounded by a perverse political system and culture of governance continue to betray the efforts of the multitudes of heroes and heroines who championed the liberation struggle," ACBOs said in a statement.

"The Alliance of Community Based Organisations (ACBOs) takes this year's independence day commemoration, as an opportunity to further remind the nation on the question of national dialogue by sharing the citizen's perspectives on dialogue in Zimbabwe."

"There is consensus within the Zimbabwean society that dialogue is the preferred route to solve the political impasse and resultant crisis in the country. In as much as the nature of crisis is perceived to be political, communities anticipate the dialogue to go beyond the political question and address the socio-economic questions of access to basic services and livelihood opportunities," read the statement

ACBO said the main parties, Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance should come to the negotiating table together with other key societal stakeholders such as civil society organisations, church and business.

Source - newsday