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With no reform '2018 will be a replica of 2013', warns Crisis - belated partial awakening

28 May 2017 at 20:33hrs | Views
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo said the greatest fear was that unless key reforms are delivered, the 2018 elections will be a replica of the 2013 disputed election.

"We fear that unless these reforms are implemented, the elections will be a mere farce with the script and actor being the same as the 2013 one whose plot will be distinctly familiar and the outcomes being a de javous moment," said Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo.

We should be grateful for the little mercy that the little men and women in CiZC have even got as far as recognising the futility of contesting another election without reforms. They did not do so last time; they cheered and applauded Tsvangirai and his MDC friends, like most of the country's civic society, all the way to the 2013 elections convinced the MDC would win.

Sadly, CiZC's awakening is not ready for action, fight or flight, one would expect but more the blink, blink awakening of a sloth after someone has just fired a shotgun right into it face.

This clearly shows that CiZC members still have no clue what the democratic reforms agreed in the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) by Zanu PF, the two MDC factions and SA's President Thambo Mbeki on behave of SADC were about. The reforms were to sever the undemocratic controls Zanu PF has over state institutions like ZEC, Police, Judiciary, Public Media, etc. which have made it impossible for these institutions to fulfil their respective duty of delivering free, fair and credible elections, keeping law and order, etc.

It is very sad that CiZC should, even now with the benefit of hindsight, continue to put any faith in the BVR process as, on its own, it could ever make even one bit of difference to our quest for free and faith elections.

"BVR (Biometric Voter Registration) should be speeded up and the process should be spread out over a year to give people a chance to understand the process and to check whether the system works," continued Nkomo.

Nkomo said space must be opened for civil society organisations and Zec to carry out civic education to ensure that people have all the necessary information to participate in elections.

As long as nothing is done to reform ZEC and it continues to function as if it is nothing more than just another department in Zanu PF committed to deliver the party's principle objective of no regime change then ZEC will continue to rig the vote to the benefit of the party. Anyone who thinks that giving ZEC the new BVR equipment will stop ZEC rig the elections is being naïve.

SADC leaders have spelt out what we need to do – implement the democratic reforms – if we want free, fair and credible elections. At the Maputo June 2013 SADC summit the regional leaders warned Zimbabwe's opposition not to contest the elections with no reforms in place. Tsvangirai & co. would not listen. We know why the opposition did not listen.

"The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn't now do the obvious – withdraw from the elections," admitted Senator Coltart in his book.

"The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility."

The best SADC can do for Zimbabwe is repeat the same warning at the upcoming August 2017 summit in SA. As things stand, it is clear that Zimbabwe's opposition is determined to contest the elections regardless the certainty that Zanu PF will rig the vote for the same reason they contested the 2013 elections - greed.

If we are ever going to force through our demands for the implementation of democratic reforms and have free and fair elections then it is not so much Zanu PF we must pressure here but the corrupt and incompetent opposition. It was the opposition's failure to implement the reforms during the GNU that allowed Zanu PF to stage a comeback after the GNU. And it is the participation in flawed elections that is giving rigged elections the modicum of acceptance.

The greatest fear is not so much that Zanu PF will rig the 2018 election as it did the 2013 elections for that is a certainty as long as the opposition agree to contest the elections knowing the process will be rigged. The greatest fear here is therefore that the nation will be conned into believing the elections will not be rigged because the opposition have agreed to for a grand coalition, voter education on BVR was allowed or some such trivial matter.

The only guarantee for free and fair July 2013 elections was implementing the reforms and it is still the same for 2018. It is a great national tragedy that key civic organisations like CiZC did not understand this key requirement for change and, it seems, still do not understand this to this day!

Source - Nomusa Garikai
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