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'Zimbabwe election will be free,' says UN - if cannot speak truth to power then shut up

by Zimbabwe Social Democrats
28 May 2018 at 22:58hrs | Views
Dear Mr Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Co-ordinator

Many thinking Zimbabweans out there are asking: What organisation is Mr Bishow Parajuli working for?

On paper, you are the "UN Resident Co-ordinator for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Zimbabwe" but it is impossible to see how you can be working for the UN because your assertion that Zimbabwe's elections are "free and fair" contradicts everything the UN says it stands for!

"The mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to work for the protection of all human rights for all people; to help empower people to realize their rights; and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented," we understand.

Instead of working to protect and empower the ordinary Zimbabweans to realize their democratic right to free, fair and credible elections you are doing the exact opposite by falsifying the political reality in Zimbabwe. 

"As far as we see it, there are some good signs because the new voters' rolls are being developed, with 5,4 million in new voter registration," you said, according to report in Bulawayo 24.

"There is a lot of engagement between political parties and the ruling faction; engagement between the election commission, civil society and others. The political parties themselves are getting together to agree on a code of conduct for holding peaceful elections. So, all these signs are positive."

As the UN Representative in Zimbabwe, Mr Parajuli, you should know that many Zimbabweans will be denied a meaningful vote in these elections. The voter registration exercise, for example, was started very late, September 2017 when it should have started in January 2015 at the very latest, and so only 5.4 million were registered instead of the expected 7 million. So, nearly 25% of the voters have already been denied the vote for no fault of their own!

The 5.4 million registered voters have been given 10 days to check their details in the provisional voters' roll. After the first five days only 694 030 voters had done so physically. The authorities say over 3 million others have done so using text messages, this is wilfully inadequate since this is supposed to be purely a biometric voting system and not a name, ID, etc. system. It is clear these elections are going ahead with no verified voters' roll.

In the past Zanu PF has blatantly rigged the elections but it was impossible to prove this without a verified voters' roll, it was the missing smoking gun. Since there is no verified voters' roll again, it is clear the elections will be blatantly rigged as before and, once again, there will no smoking gun.

Zanu PF has pointedly refused to implement the democratic reforms to ensure a free public media, to ensure the Police is free and independent, etc. It is laughable that anyone would agree with President Mnangagwa's suggestion that a code of conduct agreed between political parties can ever be a substitute to implementing the reforms.

SADC leaders wanted Zimbabwe's 2013 elections postponed so the democratic reforms agreed at the onset the GNU could be implemented. "If you go into next month's elections, you will lose; the elections are done!" they warned Morgan Tsvangirai and his fellow MDC leaders.

As we know, Zanu PF went on to blatantly rig the 2013 elections and, still with no reforms implement since the last elections, the party will likewise rig this year's elections. As the UN representative one expected you, Mr Bishow Parajuli, to be "assisting those responsible for upholding such rights (Zanu PF) in ensuring that they (reforms) are implemented!" Instead you are helping the regime dodge its obligations to the common people!

Zimbabwe is in this economic mess and political chaos because, for the last 38 years, the nation is stuck with this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship that has rigged elections to stay in power.  The people of Zimbabwe are fighting for the country to hold its first ever free, fair and credible elections as their only hope to get out of this hell-hole.

Mr Bishow Parajuli, if you are not going to speak truth to power then, please, please shut up!

Yours truly,

Secretary General
Zimbabwe Social Democrats.